Umar Mansour, the mastermind behind the deadly massacre at the Army School in Peshawar in 2014 has reportedly been killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan. Authorities in Pakistan confirmed the strike on Tuesday (12 July). Mansour, who fled to Afghanistan after a military operation was launched in the tribal region of Khyber to nab him, was killed within two months of him being designated a global terrorist by the US State Department.

Mansour, who goes with aliases Khalifa Mansour and Umar Naray allegedly perpetrated the 16 December 2014 attack on the school in which around 150 people were killed, including students, teachers and other staff. He was reportedly responsible for the September 2015 attack on a Pakistan Air Force base in Peshawar's Badaber area and the January attack on the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda.

A Pakistani official was quoted by The Dawn as saying that "credible sources" informed them that the father of three was killed in a drone attack on 9 July that targeted the Bandar area in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province. The banned militant outfit Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), of which Mansour was a member, has not yet confirmed the news of his death, nor has any other independent source.

The drone attack also targeted another militant leader Qari Saifullah, but authorities are not sure if he too was killed. One official however said that there is a "90% chance that the militant leader was killed", but another official claimed that investigations were underway to find out whether Saifullah was with Mansour at the time of the attack.

The Army public school attack
Umar Mansour, the mastermind of the 2014 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar was killed in a drone strike - Representational image Reuters

Officials in Pakistan reportedly stressed that after Mansour's death, they would target other militant leaders as well. "The focus would now be on getting Abdul Wali, alias Omar Khalid Khurasani, and Maulvi Fazlullah, also believed to be in Afghanistan," an official was quoted by the daily as saying. They have shared details about the two militants with Afghanistan and a coordinated operation to target the duo was underway.