Drone Strike Kills Top al-Qaeda Operative
Aslam Awan killed in Jan. 10 attack: official
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 20, 2012 8:08 AM CST
In this Jan. 31, 2010 file photo an unmanned US Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – A CIA drone strike in early January killed a key al-Qaeda operative who was planning attacks on the West, according to a US official. The official said yesterday that the strike on Jan. 10 hit Aslam Awan, who was described as an "external operations planner" inside the organization. The strike was one of the first after a hiatus of some six weeks, after a controversial friendly fire incident at the border in which US forces fired on Pakistani border outposts, killing 24 Pakistani troops in a case of mistaken identity.