Officials: Mastermind of 2014 Pakistan school attack dead in coalition drone strike

ISLAMABAD, July 13 (UPI) — A militant leader who authorities say was responsible for an attack two years ago that killed more than 130 children at a Pakistani school was himself killed last weekend in a drone strike by U.S.-led coalition forces.

The Pakistani military said Wednesday that Khalifa Omar Mansour, a commander of the Pakistani Taliban, died in the strike Saturday in eastern Afghanistan. Taliban sources also reportedly confirmed Mansour’s death.

The 37-year-old militant leader, who was also known by the aliases Umar Narai, Khalifa Umar and Khalid Khurasani, was in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, near its border with Pakistan, when he was caught up in the drone strike, officials said.

A U.S.-led coalition spokesperson confirmed that a counter-terrorism strike occurred Saturday, but would not discuss the details, NBC News reported.

ARCHIVEDecember 2014: Taliban attack on Pakistan school kills 141, mostly children

Other press reports also indicated that another militant leader, Qari Saifullah, also died in the strike.

“What we have is pretty credible,” one official was quoted as saying in the report.

Saifullah, it has been reported, was in charge of Taliban suicide bombers and attacks.

U.S. officials have said Mansour was behind the Dec. 16, 2014, attack that killed 144 students and staff members at the Army Public School in Peshawar. Seven gunmen with the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan were the perpetrators, officials said.

In May, the U.S. Department of State designated Mansour as a global terrorist, clearing the path for his inclusion in its high value target list.

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