Al Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahri was not present at the site of a US airstrike in Pakistan according to a senior official. There had been speculation Zawahri might have been killed in the attack early on Friday morning on the village of Damadola near the Afghan border. It is believed the assault was carried out by a CIA-operated unmanned drone.
A number of buildings were hit. At least 18 villagers are reported to have been killed. Pakistan says an investigation is underway. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Egyptian-born Zawahri have eluded capture since US-led forces toppled Afghanistan’s Taliban regime in 2001 following the September 11th attacks – authorities believe they could be hiding along the rugged border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.