US Drone Kills AlQaeda Leader

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Saleh Al-Somali Killed
in Drone Strike on.. ..Tuesday Along Lawless Tribal Areas of Western Pakistan

The senior al Qaeda operative killed in a drone strike in Pakistan earlier this week was Saleh al-Somali, a major operations planner for the terrorist group, ABC News has learned.

Pakistani tribesmen examine the site of a U.S. missile attack in Janikhel village just outside the North Waziristan tribal district, a well-known hotbed of al Qaeda and Taliban militants, in this March 2009 file photo. A suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles into an al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuary in a Pakistani region the Afghan border Dec. 8, 2009, killing at least three militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

"There are strong indications that senior al Qaeda operations planner Saleh al-Somali has died," a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

Al-Somali was believed killed in a drone strike Tuesday that likely was part of the CIA's continuing program that uses armed Predator drones to target al Qaeda terrorists operating along the lawless tribal areas of western Pakistan that border Afghanistan.

Questions Over Who Was Killed in Drone Strike

Since Tuesday's attack in Pakistan's northern Waziristan region, speculation had run rampant that a senior al Qaeda operative had been killed in the attack.