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
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
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: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn