The leader of Pakistani terrorist group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, who planned some of the deadliest suicide bombings in Pakistan over the last year, died on Thursday of wounds sustained in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan, a spokesman said.
“Our leader, Omar Khalid Khorasani, was wounded in one of the recent drone strikes in Afghanistan. He was wounded badly, and today he was martyred,” Asad Mansoor, a Jamaat-ul-Ahrar spokesman, said by telephone.
The killing comes ahead of American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit next week and is likely to further ease tensions between the often-wary allies, as Islamabad has been asking Washington for years to target terrorists who attack inside Pakistan and then hide over the border in Afghanistan.
A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has in the past also backed Middle East-based Islamic State and has increasingly targeted religious minorities in Pakistan.
The group claimed responsibility for a bombing in a public park last March that killed 70 people, many of them Christians, in the eastern city of Lahore.