One of al-Qaida's top five leaders, a key associate of Ayman al-Zawahri, was tracked down with U.S. help and killed by Pakistani security forces in a rocket attack near the Afghan border, officials said Saturday.
Hamza Rabia, believed to have become al-Qaida's operational commander after the arrest of Abu Farraj al-Libbi in northwestern &to=http://english.pravda.ru/war/2003/03/07/44136.html' target=_blank>Pakistan in May, ranks somewhere between third and fifth in the terror network's hierarchy, officials said.
He was among five people who died in an explosion Thursday in the North Waziristan tribal area. Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said Rabia's remains were identified via a DNA test, re ports ABC News.
Egyptian-born Abu Hamza Rabia, believed to be in charge of the group's militants in North Wazirstan in northwestern Pakistan, was among five people killed.
The English language daily paper Dawn said Rabia died in a blast caused by explosives stored in a house used for bomb-making.
A senior intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press a missile attack triggered the explosion in a stockpile of bomb-making materials, grenades and other munitions.