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May 13, 2009 at 06:04pm IST

Pak plans offensive against Baitullah Mehsud

New Delhi: The Pakistani Army is planning to launch an offensive in Waziristan against Beitullah Mehsud next month. Sources close to the Pakistani military said the goal would be to restore state control over the area.

Western diplomats in Islamabad also confirmed plans for the offensive and said Islamabad could declare an emergency in the North West Frontier Province to facilitate the operation.

The province is already facing the pressure of having to care for an estimated half a million refugees fleeing the fighting in Swat and Buner.

UNDER FIRE: Mehsud is a suspect in the assassination of former Pak prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.

The US is rushing $5 million in emergency assistance but is facing an uphill battle trying to convince Congress on releasing $400 million in counter-insurgency funding for the Pakistani military and nearly $2 billion in State Department assistance.

On Tuesday missiles fired by a US drone flattened a house in remote Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan killing eight people, all militants, official said.

Two missiles fired by the drone hit a compound in Sara Khwara in South Waziristan tribal region, in the second such drone attack in less than two days.

The house, according to officials, was being used by militants to stay before crossing the border or coming back from Afghanistan.