Drone strike 'kills leader of Pakistani Taliban'

The leader of the Pakistani Taliban was one of three people killed in a suspected US drone strike, intelligence officials say.

The officials say agents sent to the site of the attack in the North Waziristan tribal area on Friday confirmed the death of the militant leader, Hakimullah Mehsud.

The missile strike hit the village of Dande Derpa Khel in North Waziristan, two intelligence officials told The Associated Press. They said the strike, near the town of Miran Shah, hit a house.

The officials said the village is the stronghold of the Haqqani network, which routinely targets Nato troops in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The missiles strike is the second after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the US last month where he pressed for stopping of the drone strikes.

Most Pakistanis consider the drone strikes to be a violation of the country’s sovereignty.

A hard-line religious group protested at the strikes on Friday in Islamabad and Lahore.

US officials have suggested in the past that the Pakistan government does privately support some of the strikes, which hit militants in tribal regions its army has trouble controlling.

The Pakistani government also said this week that 3% of 2,227 people killed in US drone strikes since 2008 were civilians, a surprisingly low figure that sparked criticism from groups that have investigated deaths from the attacks.

The strikes also come as Pakistan says its started talks with the country’s domestic arm of the Taliban.

The leader of one of the country’s main opposition parties threatened on Thursday to cut off Nato supplies moving through Pakistan if the US launches any drone strikes during the talks.

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