Taliban No. 2 Killed in Drone Strike: Pakistan

Officials condemn North Waziristan attack
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2013 4:24 AM CDT
Updated May 29, 2013 7:47 AM CDT
First Post-Election Drone Strike Kills 7 in Pakistan
Protesters hold an anti-drone banner during a peace march in Pakistan.    (AP Photo/Mohammad Hussain, File)

A suspected US drone strike assassinated the Pakistani Taliban's No. 2 commander today, according to multiple reports sourced to Pakistani intelligence. Officials tell the AP that their informants on the ground saw Waliur Rehman's body firsthand, while others say intercepted Taliban communications confirmed the kill. But a spokesman for the Taliban said the report "appears to me to be false news; I don't have any such information."

Rehman was considered the heir apparent to Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud. "This is a huge blow to militants and a win in the fight against insurgents," a security official tells Reuters. Earlier, Pakistani officials had condemned the strike, which is the first since President Obama announced that the program was being scaled back—and the first since Pakistan's elections, in which the unpopular attacks were a major issue. Reports vary on how many were killed; the AP and CNN have 4 dead, but a resident tells Reuters that rescue workers have pulled seven bodies from the rubble. (More drones stories.)

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