A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan has killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the head of the Pakistani Taliban, Pakistani sources told Al Jazeera on Friday.
"We can confirm Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in the drone strike," said an unnamed source.
Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said that Pakistan's Taliban has also confirmed Mehsud's killing.
Four security officials confirmed his death to the Reuters news agency. Mehsud's bodyguard and driver were also among the dead, they said.
"Among the dead, who are in large numbers, are Hakimullah's personal bodyguard Tariq Mehsud and his driver Abdullah Mehsud, two of his closest people," said one intelligence source.
Drones fired four missiles at a compound in Danda Darpa Khel, a village about 3 miles away from the regional capital, Miranshah, killing at least four people, sources said.
Mehsud was killed after attending a gathering of 25 Taliban leaders gathering to discuss the government's offer of talks, they said.
The government issued a statement denouncing the drone strike, but did not comment on reports of Mehsud's death.
As leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Mehsud was the most wanted man in Pakistan, and the U.S. had a $5 million bounty on his head. He was believed to be in his mid-30s.
Mehsud, who had been reported dead several times before, became the leader of the Pakistani Taliban in August 2009 after a drone strike killed the previous leader, his mentor.
His death is the latest in a series of setbacks for the Pakistani Taliban.
In May, a drone strike killed his second in command, and one of his most trusted lieutenants was captured in Afghanistan last month.
Mehsud's death follows months of debate over potential peace talks between the Taliban and the new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who won a landslide victory in May, promising to quash the insurgency.