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Sources: Pakistani Taliban leader is dead

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Pakistani Taliban leader dead
  • Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud is dead, three Taliban sources say
  • A government source said he died after aJanuary 14 attack in North Waziristan
  • Authorities have been looking into reports he died after a drone attack last month
  • A Taliban spokesman last week said that Mehsud was alive
  • Pakistan
  • The Taliban

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud is dead, three Taliban sources and a government official said Tuesday.

There were conflicting reports about where Mehsud died. The government official told CNN Mehsud died as a result of the January 14 attack in North Waziristan. He was seriously injured, and was moved to the Orakzai region, where he died and was buried more than a week ago, the official said, citing information from local pro-government militias.

Other sources said Mehsud died near the city of Multan in central Pakistan while on his way to a treatment center in Karachi.

Authorities have been looking into reports that Mehsud died after being wounded last month in a drone attack.

Word of his death contradicts a statement by a Taliban spokesman last week that Mehsud was alive and in hiding.

Also last week, a Pakistani news outlet reported that Mehsud had been killed. State broadcaster PTV reported that Mehsud was wounded in a drone attack this month, died and was buried.

The drone attack occurred at a madrassa, or religious school, said Pakistani intelligence and local officials in North Waziristan. The school had been converted into a training camp for militants, the officials said.

That attack came a few days after Mehsud appeared in a video released by the Pakistani Taliban. In it, he sits next to Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the man thought to be the suicide bomber who killed seven CIA officers and consultants and a Jordanian army captain at a base in eastern Afghanistan on December 30.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack. It was carried out to avenge the death of Mehsud's predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, who died in a suspected U.S. drone strike last year, according to al Qaeda's commander of operations in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu Yazid.

Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud are from the same tribe, not the same family.

The U.S. military routinely offers no comment on reported attacks by drones, or unmanned aircraft. But the United States is the only country operating in the region known to have the ability to launch missiles from remote-controlled aircraft.

Journalist Nasir Dawar contributed to this report