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12 killed in US drone strike in Pakistan

A suspected US missile strike Tuesday in a troubled Pakistani tribal district near the Afghan border killed at least 12 militants on Tuesday, intelligence officials said.

world Updated: Aug 11, 2009 17:08 IST
DPA

A suspected US missile strike on Tuesday in a troubled Pakistani tribal district near the Afghan border killed at least 12 militants on Tuesday, intelligence officials said.

Two missiles fired from a drone struck a training camp in South Waziristan's Kani Guram village near the Ladha area, where top Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud was reportedly killed in a similar assault last week.

The training facility was being run by a local militant leader identified as Zangi Khan Burki, an intelligence official said on the condition of anonymity.

"Twelve militants were confirmed killed while six others were wounded," the official said, adding that the toll could be higher as a large number of Mehsud's supporters were present in the complex when it was hit.

The attack came amid claims and counterclaims about Mehsud's death in a drone strike on Wednesday that targeted the house of the warlord's father-in-law in Zangara village.

Pakistani authorities said intelligence reports suggested Mehsud was almost certainly killed along with his younger wife, but the militant commander's deputies contested the claim.

Government agencies were trying to collect "material evidence" of Mehsud's death, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters in Islamabad Tuesday.

"As soon as we receive any confirmation, we will make it public," Malik said.

Independent verification was not possible because of the inaccessibility of the remote region.

Mehsud is described as Pakistan's enemy number one and also carries a $5-million bounty on his head for being a key facilitator of Al Qaeda in South Waziristan, a territory littered with Taliban sanctuaries.