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Pak Taliban Chief Mehsud Injured In US Drone Attack: Report

PTI 16 Jan 2010, 8:36:42 IST

Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud received splinter injuries to his head and back in an American missile strike in Pakistan's lawless Waziristan tribal region that killed at least 15 militants, according to intelligence officials.

Mehsud, who became the Tehrik-e-Taliban chief after the killing of his predecessor Baitullah Mehsud in a drone attack in August last year, was injured in Thursday's United States' missile strike at Basalkot in Shaktoi area, which straddles North and South Wazirsitan, Dawn News reported, citing intelligence and other security officials.

Hakiumulla Mehsud had gone there to meet Arab and Uzbek fighters based in the area, officials said. He was holding the meeting of the local Taliban Shura or council when the US drone attack occurred, they were quoted as saying.

Officials claimed that he suffered splinter injuries to his head and back. The channel did not give details about how officials received this information. At the same time, it quoted a senior Taliban commander as claiming that Mehsud was safe. The unnamed Taliban commander said that reports about Mehsud being injured are baseless. He claimed that the Tehrik-e-Taliban chief had left the area shortly before the attack.

Several key militant commanders were reported to have been killed in the strike, the seventh this month in the area reportedly infested with fighters of Haqqani network of the Taliban.

At least four missiles were fired by US drones on Thursday morning at a house and the compound of a seminary in Basalkot village. PTI