US launches another missile strike in Pakistan

The US resumed missile strikes in Pakistan's northwest today — nearly a week after one reportedly killed the country's Taliban chief — hitting a hide-out believed to be frequented by his supporters and killing at least eight suspected militants, intelligence officials said.

Two officials put the death toll at 14.

The latest missile attack came as the Taliban continued to deny their leader, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in last week's strike, and amid conflicting reports of a power struggle among those trying to decide who should succeed him. Intelligence officials say meetings are being held in the South Waziristan tribal region to try to name an heir.

Also today, at least a dozen rockets slammed into Peshawar, Pakistan's main northwest city, killing two civilians, while militants launched an assault on a paramilitary base nearby, authorities said.

Today's missile strike hit a compound in the Kani Guram area of South Waziristan, a known Mehsud stronghold. Two intelligence officials in the Pakistani capital said Mehsud commanders had regularly visited the site.

They said they did not know if the militants gathered at the site were involved in trying to decide who would succeed Mehsud.

Two other intelligence officials based in the northwest said the strike killed 14 militants. It destroyed the facility, they said.

All of the intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media on the record.

The Taliban have vowed retaliation against the government for what it says are false reports that Mehsud died. Pakistani and US officials have said Mehsud is almost certainly dead and that there may be a power struggle over for succession.

The rocket attacks on a residential area of Peshawar sent panicked residents running from their homes shortly after 1 a.m., police official Nisar Khan said. At least two civilians were killed and 10 others wounded.

Taliban militants often target security outposts in the countryside with heavy weapons, but rocket attacks are rare in Pakistan's cities. "It is an act of terrorism, but we don't know who the attackers were," Khan told The Associated Press.

Hours later, a group of militants attacked a paramilitary Frontier Corps base in Basai, outside Peshawar, the military said in a statement. It said three militants were killed in the gunbattle, but gave no casualty figures for the paramilitary.

No one claimed immediate responsibility for the assaults, Khan said, but Peshawar is close to the Taliban-infested tribal areas.

A top Pakistani official said supporters of Mehsud were fighting with each other after his death.

"The current position is that their men are scattered, and they are fighting with each other," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters in comments broadcast by a local news channel today.

However, one contender for the leadership, Hakimullah, phoned The Associated Press yesterday and railed against Pakistani government claims that he himself had been killed in succession infighting. He also insisted Mehsud was alive and his supporters unified.

Analysts have suggested that it could be in the interests of top commanders within Mehsud's alliance, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, to deny their leader was dead until they could agree on who would replace him.

Mehsud's death would be a major blow for the Pakistani Taliban. He brought various Islamist militant factions under a unified if loose command that posed an unprecedented threat to the Pakistani security forces.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing