Wife of Pakistani Taliban Leader Killed in Missile Strike
By VOA News
05 August 2009
Relatives of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud say one of his wives has been killed in a suspected U.S. missile strike on his father-in-law's house.
At least one other person was reported killed in the attack early Wednesday in the South Waziristan tribal region. Relatives say four children were wounded, while Mehsud's father-in-law was unharmed.
A relative and an associate of Mehsud told news agencies that the top Taliban leader was not in the house at the time of the attack. But Pakistani officials have not confirmed his whereabouts during the strike.
Wednesday's attack is the latest in a series of suspected U.S. missile strikes targeting Mehsud. The Pakistani military has also been pounding militant targets in South Waziristan ahead of a campaign to hunt down Mehsud.
He is accused of orchestrating scores of bombings in Pakistan and is widely believed to be a key ally of al-Qaida.
Pakistan's preliminary assault on the tribal region follows a three-month military campaign in Swat and Malakand. Pakistani forces started the offensive when Taliban militants violated a peace deal to impose strict Islamic law.
On Wednesday, the Pakistani military said it had killed eight suspected militants and detained 14 others during operations in the area with the help from local militias known as "lashkars."
Meanwhile, Pakistani Christians staged a protest in Lahore over the killing of eight members of their community by Muslim attackers Saturday. Some of the protesters broke car windows during the demonstration.
Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah says officials suspect a banned Sunni group, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, and its al-Qaida-linked affiliate, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, of orchestrating the violence in Gojra. Authorities are questioning some 200 people over the attack.
On Saturday, Muslims stormed a Christian neighborhood in Gojra, torching dozens of homes over allegations that Christians had desecrated the Koran. Church and government officials said the accusations are false.
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