Sources involved in the rescue operation following yesterday’s US attack on a South Waziristan funeral procession reported that at least 35 civilians were among the slain, and that no prominent militant commanders were killed in the strike.
The drone strike, which according to current counts killed at least 80 people, is by far the single deadliest US attack on Pakistani soil since the practice began last year. Pakistani officials expressed muted discontent over the strike.
The reported target of the attack was Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Baitullah Mehsud. Mehsud, who is the target of a massive Pakistani military offensive, had reportedly left the funeral before the attack. TTP spokesmen claim that only five of those slain at the funeral were their members.
Mehsud has claimed credit for several high profile terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, and has threatened to launch attacks against the United States if the drone strikes do not halt. The US State Department put a $5 million bounty on Mehsud in March, though the powerful militant appears to have continued to operate with impunity since then.