The traditionally restive region became a base for militants after the US ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001.
As the government prepares for a major operation in South Waziristan, it's eyeing lessons learned from previous campaigns that were cut short in the face of weak public support.
Qari Zainuddin, who had been challenging militant chief and fellow tribesman Baitullah Mehsud, was shot dead Tuesday.
A federal judge orders release of a Syrian national who Al Qaeda suspected was a US spy.
As the Army begins attacking South Waziristan, it has targeted hideouts of Baitullah Mehsud. Killing or even dislodging the militant chief could deal a severe blow to the movement, analysts say.