A series of suspected U.S. drone strikes against Taliban targets in western Pakistan has killed at least 40 people.
Intelligence officials say the first strikes in South Waziristan
targeted suspected militants in a stronghold of Taliban commander
Baitullah Mehsud. Hours later, during the funeral procession for those
who died in the strikes, another barrage of missiles killed more people.
Also Tuesday, in nearby Dera Ismail Khan, police said a militant
commander who opposed Mehsud was assassinated by a lone gunman.
Police say Qari Zainuddin was in his office in Dera Ismail Khan when a gunman shot him and wounded one of his aides.
Zainuddin was a militant commander in the Taliban stronghold South
Waziristan, but recently announced that he would support a planned
military operation against Mehsud.
No one has claimed responsibility but suspicion is likely to center on Mehsud and his followers.
Pakistan's military is preparing a new ground offensive against
Mehsud's stronghold in South Waziristan. Pakistani jets have carried
out airstrikes on Mehsud targets in recent days.