TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a drone strike on Thursday

Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a drone strike on Thursday, media reports said on Sunday.
According to US media reports, Mehsud ‘might have been killed’ in a drone strike that took place on January 12 in Datta Khel area of Miranshah, North Waziristan, that had targeted a vehicle, killing six people.
Pakistani intelligence officials said they had intercepted militant radio communications indicating that the Pakistani Taliban’s leader may have been killed.
“It is not yet 100 per cent sure that Hakimullah was killed but we are investigating the matter,” the officials told The Express News 24/7.
However high ranking Pakistani officials said that Mehsud’s death could neither be denied nor confirmed.
Our Ameer is very much alive: TTP spokesperson
A newly appointed TTP spokesperson, Asimullah Asim Mehsud denied the reports of the group’s chief’s death, claiming Mehsud was not in the area where the drone strike occurred.
“Our Ameer (Chief) is very much alive and in full contact with our groups”.
Asim also claimed responsibility for the attack on the District Police Officer’s (DPO) office in Dera Ismail Khan. “They were our suicide bombers, and our reaction will intensify with the passage of time,” he said while completely denying any peace talks with the government.
Talking to The Express News 24/7, a resident from the area, where the drone strike had occured, said that Mehsud’s presence has been reported from the surrounding area.
This is not the first time reports have surfaced of Hakimullah Mehsud’s death.
In 2010, local and US officials both claimed that a missile strike had killed the local Taliban leader. However, the reports proved false as videos of Mehsud surfaced in the following days proving he was still alive.
Reports of Mehsud’s death comes at a time when ‘secret talks’ between Pakistan’s security agencies and the local Taliban – who have reportedly splintered down into many different groups – had entered a decisive phase.
Publicly, the military denies having any talks with the militants.
Senior TTP leaders had also confirmed that these covert talks with the military establishment were reaching a climax and said there were several indications of things moving ahead.
In an earlier report , a young militant commander Raqeebullah Mehsud had said that Hakimullah was not aware of these talks and he, along with a core group following his hard-line positions on talks with the government, was aware of these negotiations.
A security official had also confirmed that the military was now rigorously chasing Hakimullah and his small group, into the Shawal Valley on the border between South and North Waziristan.

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