Baitullah Mehsud killed in Pakistan: Reports

Baitullah: The leader of TTP

Baitullah: The leader of TTP

ISLAMABAD, Aug 7  – There is a strong likelihood that Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud was killed along with his wife and bodyguards in a missile attack two days ago, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

“We suspect he was killed in the missile strike,” Malik said on Friday. “We have some information, but we don’t have material evidence to confirm it.”

The United States has placed a $5 million reward on the head of Mehsud, an ally of al Qaeda widely regarded in Pakistan as Public Enemy No. 1.

A U.S. defense official, speaking anonymously in Washington, said he had seen no indications that Mehsud had been killed in the strike.

The attack in a tribal region of northwest Pakistan was believed to have been carried out by a pilotless U.S. drone aircraft at around 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

Neither the Pakistan nor U.S. governments confirm such attacks because of sensitivities over violation of Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty.

Baitullah Mehsud

Baitullah Mehsud

Intelligence officials and relatives had confirmed earlier that Mehsud’s second wife had been killed in the missile strike that targeted her father’s home in an outlying settlement close to Makeen village in the South Waziristan tribal region.

A relative of Mehsud’s dead wife had initially said the Taliban leader wasn’t present when the missiles struck, but rumours that he had either been wounded or killed refused to die down.

The stricken house is some two hours’ walk from Makeen, and Taliban fighters had cordoned off the area, refusing to let people enter, according to villagers.

A senior Pakistani security official said that aside from Mehsud’s wife, one of Mehsud’s brothers and seven of his bodyguards perished in the attack.

The official said intelligence services were trying to discover the identity of another victim, and there was a good chance that it was Mehsud.

Intelligence agents had also picked up signs that leaders of various Taliban factions planned to gather for a shura, or council meeting, somewhere in Waziristan later on Friday.

Sometimes in the past militant leaders presumed to have been killed have resurfaced later.

2 Responses

  1. Pakistani officials have confirmed this report .

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