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Pakistanis on high alert for Taliban leader's burial

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By The Los Angeles Times
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 7:21 p.m.

ISLAMABAD ­— Pakistani security forces were on high alert Saturday amid concerns of revenge attacks as a result of the killing of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone missile strike.

Mehsud has been reported killed in the past by U.S. and Pakistani security forces — only to reappear alive. But on Saturday, the Taliban confirmed his killing on Friday in the Miranshah area of lawless North Waziristan near the Afghan border.

“We believe that hundreds of thousands more mujahedeen will rise from the drops of Hakimullah's blood,” Maulana Azam Tariq, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman from South Waziristan, said by phone from an undisclosed location. “The enemy should not be happy with Hakimullah's martyrdom. We will take revenge with America and its associates.”

Pakistan security forces have been beefed up and placed on high alert across the country, especially in the volatile northwest. Blockades were set up at major entry access roads into Peshawar and additional security deployed around the city's U.S. Consulate.

Mehsud's funeral was reportedly held in secret Saturday so those attending wouldn't be targeted by drone strikes. Miranshah residents reported seeing angry locals fire at several drones overhead.

“Hakimullah has been buried in an undisclosed location in Miranshah,” said another Taliban official, who requested anonymity.

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