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PARACHINAR, Pakistan – Helicopter gunships pummeled a key Taliban commander's bases in Pakistan's northwest, killing at least 12 insurgents Thursday as government forces ratcheted up pressure on the militants following their top leader's reported death, officials said.
Military helicopters destroyed several bases and hide-outs Thursday morning near the Kurram and Aurakzai tribal regions run by militant commander Hakimullah Mehsud, three intelligence officials said.
Hakimullah Mehsud is a clansman and potential successor to Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who was reported killed in a CIA missile strike on Aug. 5.
Thursday's attacks were on bases in tribal areas near the Afghan border, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of the Mehsud clan's main base in south Waziristan.