Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) May 7, 2009
The eldest son of the Islamist cleric who signed a shaky peace deal with the government in northwest Pakistan was killed in a military air strike Thursday, a spokesman for his father said.
Maulana Kifayatullah, 50 and the eldest of Sufi Mohammad's 12 sons, was killed when war planes bombed an area near the town of Lal Qila, in the northwest district of Lower Dir, spokesman Ameer Izzat Khan told AFP.
Kifayatullah had been living in the house of his brother-in-law, who was wounded in the legs but was not in a critical condition, Khan said.
"The information about his death has been confirmed," said the spokesman.
A military official in the northwest said he had no information about Kifayatullah's death but confirmed fighter jets "conducted raids on suspected hideouts in Lower Dir" Thursday.
Mohammad, who led thousands of supporters into Afghanistan to fight against American troops after the 2001 US-led invasion to oust the Taliban regime, was jailed for six years in Pakistan after returning home.
He signed a deeply controversial agreement with the government in February to put three million people in northwest Pakistan under sharia law in a bid to end a nearly two-year Taliban uprising spearheaded by one of his sons-in-law.
Pakistan late last month, launched renewed offensives in Lower Dir and the neighbouring district of Buner, after armed Taliban advanced further south towards Islamabad, which the authorities said violated the agreement.
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