A suspected foreign Islamic militant linked to al-Qaida and a security official were killed Thursday in a gunfight at a roadblock near Afghan border, according to the Pakistani army and intelligence agents.
Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said the shootout began when security officials signaled a vehicle carrying the suspected militant to halt at a roadblock in the remote northwestern Bajur tribal region, and the suspect opened fire.
Two local intelligence agents, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment to the media, said the slain militant was an Arab and had links with al-Qaida.
One of the agents said authorities had found a video camera, a laptop computer, hand grenades and other documents in the man’s vehicle.
Another said the man’s body had been transported to a hospital in the northwestern city of Peshawar for a DNA test. He did not identify the slain man, but claimed he was a Saudi national and had links with top al-Qaida leaders.
One security official died at the scene of Thursday’s gunbattle and two others were wounded, Sultan said, adding the retaliatory fire also killed the suspect, who appeared to be a foreigner.
In January, a U.S. missile strike purportedly targeted al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri at a village in Bajur.
Pakistani intelligence officials say that the strike missed al-Zawahri but hit several other senior al-Qaida figures, although their bodies have not been found. Thirteen villagers also died.
Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar are believed to be in the rugged Pakistan-Afghan border region.