Gunmen killed three of the tribal leaders at a market in Wana, the region's main town, while the other five were shot to death in attacks at their homes in a town north of Wana, a security official said.


Security forces have fought intense battles with fighters in South Waziristan since Pakistan became a close ally of Washington in its war against terrorism following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.


The government has accused Baitullah Mehsud, a South Waziristan-based tribal leader with links to al-Qaeda, of organising the December 27 assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a leading Pakistani politician supported by the United States.