updated 11/23/2008 7:47:56 PM ET 2008-11-24T00:47:56

A U.S. missile strike that killed a British militant linked to a jetliner bomb plot points to sharper American intelligence in Pakistan's borderlands, but is unlikely to lessen anger over the raid and others like it, analysts say.

Protesters Sunday urged Islamabad to sever ties with the United States over the strike — highlighting the risks for Washington as it seeks to eliminate extremists along the Afghan border yet also support Pakistan's democratically elected government.

Pakistani intelligence officials say British citizen Rashid Rauf and a Saudi militant named Abu Zubair al-Masri were among five people killed in Saturday's raid in North Waziristan.

No independent confirmation of death
There was no independent confirmation of Rauf's death from either the U.S. or Britain, which had been seeking Rauf's extradition before he escaped from Pakistani custody in December 2007.

Pakistani officials discussing the case spoke on condition of on anonymity because of the sensitivities of U.S. operations on the country's soil.

Washington has unleashed at least 20 suspected missile attacks on militant targets close to the Afghan border since mid-August, a dramatic increase that reflects its frustration with Pakistan's own efforts.

Islamabad insists it has no knowledge of the raids, which it says undermine the country's sovereignty, undercut its anti-terror campaign and make it harder to justify its alliance with Washington.

But many analysts speculate it has cut a secret deal with the U.S., though Islamabad continues to publicly criticize the strikes.

Terror leaders believed to be hiding in area
Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding in Wazirstan or neighboring regions, possibly planning more attacks on the West.

Fighters blamed for carrying out and planning attacks on Western forces in Afghanistan also use the rugged region as a staging post, military officials say.

Without directly admitting to being behind the raids, U.S. officials have said recently that several ranking al-Qaida operatives had been killed in the border region in recent months.

Rauf, who is of Pakistani origin, was perhaps one of the most significant yet.

The U.S. raids are deeply unpopular among many ordinary Pakistanis, many of whom are already angry with their leader's support for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

About 100 people in the eastern city of Multan demonstrated against the strike, chanting "Down with America" and burning an effigy of President George W. Bush.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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