Mehsud fled US drone attack: TTP spokesperson

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Washington, Jan. 14 (ANI): Pakistan Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who was said to be killed in a US drone attack in South Waziristan, had fled the area before the missiles hit, a Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman has said.

Earlier, a Pakistani security official had claimed that the drone attack which killed at least ten people, had also left three militant commanders dead, including Mehsud.

"It is immaterial to say how many have been killed in the attack. The important thing for us is whether Hakeemullah is amongst those killed. He has probably been killed", the Dawn quoted the official, as saying.

However, a TTP spokesperson said that while Mehsud was in the area of northwest Pakistan where a US drone strike killed 10 people on Thursday, he left before the missiles hit.

"Hakimullah Mehsud was present at the same place in Shaktoi where the drone attack took place. But he had left the place already when the drone attack took place. He is alive and completely safe," TTP spokesman Azam Tariq told AFP

Tariq did not say when Mehsud left the area, which Pakistan security forces described as "very remote".

The TTP had claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide attack on the CIA forwarding operating base Chapman in the southeastern province of Khost on December 30 last. (ANI)

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