American intelligence sleuths were authorised by President Barack Obama to strike Baitullah Mehsud if they thought they had a clear shot of the Pakistani Taliban chief through aerial surveillance of his hideout in the lawless tribal belt, a media report said on Wednesday.
"That's when the CIA decided to move in," CNN reported, adding 35-year-old Mehsud was receiving a massage from a woman on the roof of his father-in-law's house in South Waziristan tribal agency when he was killed in a drone attack last week.
President Obama was told that Mehsud, a former gym instructor who went on to lead Pakistan's Taliban fighters in a wave of suicide attacks across the country, was killed after a "dramatic escalation" of aerial surveillance, a US official was quoted as saying by CNN.
A man fitting Mehsud's description was observed on the roof of Mehsud's father-in-law's home in South Waziristan on Wednesday last. A woman was massaging the man's leg, according to the report.
Mehsud suffered from diabetes and often experienced pain in his legs, according to the CIA. He was known to seek relief through massage.