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Senior Haqqani leader killed in Pakistan

The Pakistani Taliban says a top commander of the Haqqani militant network has been killed. Nasiruddin Haqqani was shot dead in a residential area of Islamabad.

It's understood unidentified gunmen attacked Nasiruddin Haqqani, the group's chief fundraiser and son of its founder, in the capital's Bhara Karu district. Residents and local reporters flocked to the scene to see for themselves the bullet holes in a wall, where the attack had happened.

"He came out of his car to buy bread and was attacked by two motorbike riders," said one police official, speaking to the news agency dpa on condition of anonymity. "They fired more than 20 bullets, which killed him. A civilian was also injured." Pakistan's army said it was trying to verify the reports of his death.

The Haqqani network is a key ally of the Afghan Taliban, based in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region. The United States believes it is responsible for a number of high profile attacks in Afghanistan, including a 2011 siege of the US embassy and a deadly attack on the CIA in 2009.

The US put the Haqqani network on its terror blacklist last year, and followed up by imposing global sanctions against it. Nasiruddin's presence in Islamabad could come under scrutiny from Washington, which has accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of supporting the Haqqani network as a key proxy in the Afghan war - something Pakistan denies.

However Nasiruddin Haqqani's death comes just over a week after a US drone strike killed Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud in North Waziristan. The latest incident is likely to raise questions in Pakistan since Nasiruddin was wanted by the United States, which is often accused of operating an elaborate spy network across the country.

A spokesman for Pakistan's Taliban has vowed to take revenge for Nasiruddin's death, and accused Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of masterminding his death.

"Nasiruddin Haqqani has been martyred by ISI," said Shahidullah Shahid, the main spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

"He was killed because he bravely supported Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud."

Nasiruddin Haqqani's body was taken back to North Waziristan, to the area's main town of Miran Shah, where he is expected to be buried later on Monday.

jr,rg/hc (AP, AFP, dpa)