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The U.S. has carried out a flurry of drone strikes — seven in less than two weeks — some of which appear to have been trying to target al-Libi. The al Qaeda deputy appeared to have been injured in one of those strikes, although accounts were conflicting.

Pakistani intelligence officials said al-Libi was slightly injured in a May 28 attack in a village near Khassu Khel, where he then moved. The Taliban chief said the strike that wounded al-Libi was two days earlier in a different village.

The White House maintains a list of terrorist targets to be killed or captured, compiled by the military and the CIA and ultimately approved by the president.

The stepping-up of drone strikes since late May follows a relative lull driven by tensions between Washington and Islamabad over American airstrikes last year that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan seized the opportunity to renegotiate its relationship with the U.S. and demanded a stop to drone strikes in the country — a demand the U.S. has ignored. The attacks are protested in Pakistan because many people believe they mostly kill civilians, an allegation disputed by the U.S.

Pakistan called Deputy U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoagland to the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday to protest the drone strikes.

“He was informed that the drone strikes were unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Members of the Pakistani government and military have supported the strikes in the past, but that cooperation has come under strain as the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated.

As al Qaeda’s de facto general manager, al-Libi was responsible for running the group’s day-to-day operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas, and he managed outreach to al Qaeda’s regional affiliates.

Al-Libi, an Islamic scholar, was captured in 2002 and held by U.S. forces at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan until he escaped in 2005 in an embarrassing security breach. Almost immediately after reuniting with his Taliban and al Qaeda brethren, he began appearing in videos released by the terrorist group.

The Rewards for Justice program said al-Libi used his “religious training to influence people and legitimize the actions of al Qaeda.”

In a 2009 profile of al-Libi in Foreign Policy magazine, terrorism analyst Jarret Brachman described al-Libi as “media-savvy, ideologically extreme, and masterful at justifying savage acts of terrorism with esoteric religious arguments.”

Al-Libi was one of thousands of men from throughout the Muslim and Arab worlds who flocked to Afghanistan in the 1980s to battle the Soviet Union. Mr. Brachman said he later went to Mauritania for advanced religious studies that he then used in repeated videos and other al Qaeda outreach designed to attract followers and justify the group’s deadly tactics. He honed his outreach skills while working in Karachi as webmaster for a Taliban website.

c This article is based in part on wire service reports.