US airstrike kills 8 in Baitullah Mehsud's hometown
By Bill RoggioMarch 25, 2009 3:56 PM
US Predators killed eight terrorists, including "foreigners," in an attack on a Taliban convoy in South Waziristan.
The attack took place in Makeen, the hometown of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.
"Two missiles struck two vehicles carrying militants and from information we have received, some guests were among the dead," a Pakistani intelligence official told Reuters, who did not specify the identity or the nationality of those killed. Geo News reported eight were killed, including "foreigners," a term commonly used to describe al Qaeda operatives.
Baitullah sheltered in a safe house in Makeen run by Anwar Shah at the end of December 2008 after claiming credit for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination.
Today's strike is the sixth recorded attack against camps and compounds in Baitullah's tribal areas. The last attack in Baitullah's territory took place on March 1. Eight terrorists, including Arabs and Uzbeks, were reported killed in the March 1 attack.
Although The New York Times reported that a Predator strike on Feb. 14 was the first such attack against Baitullah Mehsud and signaled an expansion of the air war, the report is incorrect. There were three US strikes in Baitullah's tribal areas between July 2008 and January 2009.
In mid-June 2008, a strike hit a Taliban safe house in Baitullah's hometown of Makeen. In mid-October 2008 , a Predator strike took place in the village of Saam in the Ladha region. And on Jan. 2, 2009, another strike took place in Madin, also in the Ladha region.
Today's strike is the tenth inside Pakistan this year and the first since March 15, when US Predators conducted an attack in Bannu, a frontier region outside of Pakistan's tribal areas. Bannu borders the Taliban-controlled North and South Waziristan tribal areas to the east.
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