ISLAMABAD - A suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles yesterday at an alleged hide-out connected to a Taliban leader who has threatened to attack Washington, killing 12 people, officials said.
The attack came a day after Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a police academy in the eastern city of Lahore, saying it was retaliation for U.S. missile strikes on militant strongholds along the Afghan border. Mehsud also vowed to launch an attack on Washington or even the White House in phone interviews with The Associated Press and local media.
The FBI, however, said he had made similar threats previously and that there was no indication of anything imminent. A local intelligence official told The Associated Press that the compound attacked yesterday in a remote area of the Orakzai tribal region near the Afghan border belonged to one of Mehsud's commanders.
Up to 30 suspected militants were at the compound when it was hit, and the Taliban have moved the dead and injured to an undisclosed location, he said.
The strike is believed to be the first in Orakzai, another sign the U.S. is expanding its attack zone, possibly because of pressure on militants to keep moving. Since the U.S. escalated its missile campaign starting in August, most of the estimated three dozen strikes have landed in North and South Waziristan, where Mehsud is strongest.