TTP chief’s son among 21 killed in US drone strike
PESHAWAR: A US drone struck a hideout of the militants in Kunar province of Afghanistan and killed 21 suspected militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including a son of its chief Mulla Fazlullah.
Most of the dead belong to the Swat district of Pakistan – the home town of Fazlullah.
Officials said the drone hit the Chowgam Markaz of the banned outfit in the Shultan area of Shegal district, killing at least 21 would-be suicide bombers.
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The officials said one would-be suicide bomber belonged to the Dir district and one to the Swabi district while 18 were from the Swat valley. One dead militant was an Afghan, they added.
An intelligence official said the drone struck on the day the training of the bombers was about to be completed.
According to the official, there was strong evidence that Mulla Fazlullah’s son was among the dead.
It is also believed that Qari Yasin, a notorious trainer of suicide bombers, and Maulvi Gul Muhammad, the group’s head from Bajaur agency, were also killed in the strike.
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“We will have to wait for more evidence to identify the rest,” said another official.
Local sources, on the other hand, say the number of those killed in the drone strike is much higher.
A suicide bomber in the eastern Nangarhar province killed a senior religious official and his bodyguard, while a motorcycle blast in southern Kandahar province killed one border police force member on Wednesday, officials and Afghan media reports said.
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The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in the eastern city of Jalalabad. Aamaq, militant group’s mouthpiece, did not provide any evidence to substantiate its claim.
The suicide bomber approached Abdul Zaher Haqqani, Nangarhar provincial director of religious affairs, and detonated his explosives vest, the provincial governor’s spokesman, Ataullah Khogyani, said. Eleven people sustained injuries in the blast.
Separately, Kandahar Police Chief General Abdul Raziq said one border police force member was killed and another was wounded in the explosion. However, media report said two policemen died and another injured.
With inputs from agencies