Pakistan Taliban leader killed in US drone strike

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 November, 2013, 1:58am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 November, 2013, 1:58am

The head of the Pakistani Taliban was killed by a US drone strike in the lawless North Waziristan region of Pakistan yesterday, senior Taliban sources confirmed early this morning.

Hakimullah Mehsud, who was believed to be in his mid-30s and was one of Pakistan's most wanted men, has been reported dead several times before.

"We can confirm Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in the drone strike," said one senior Pakistani security official.

Mehsud's Pakistani Taliban is an umbrella of militant groups separate to but allied to the Afghan Taliban.

Mehsud took over the Pakistani Taliban in August 2009 after a drone strike killed the previous leader, his mentor.

His bodyguard and driver were also among the dead, security officials said.

An intelligence source said at least 25 people were killed in the strike, which took place at a compound in Danda Darpa Khel, a village about five kilometres from the regional capital of Miran Shah. Regional sources said drones had fired four missiles at the compound.

The US offered US$5 million for Mehsud's capture after he appeared in a farewell video with the Jordanian suicide bomber who killed seven CIA employees at a base in Afghanistan in 2009.

US prosecutors charged him with involvement in the attack.