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U.S. officials have told Western media that a top Al-Qaeda operative was killed in a CIA drone strike earlier this month.

Unnamed U.S. officials told the AP and Reuters news agencies the strike inside Pakistan on January 10 targeted Aslam Awan, described as an "external operations planner" for Al-Qaeda.

Pakistani officials could not confirm Awan was killed in the drone attack in the border province of North Waziristan, but U.S. officials quoted by Western agencies say he was.

The strike is reportedly one of the first in some six weeks after U.S. forces mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani border troops, triggering a chill in relations between Pakistan and the United States.

compiled from agency reports

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