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U.S. drone strikes kill 18 in NW Pakistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad,Oct 3, IRNA -- U.S drone aircraft carried out three strikes in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region on Saturday and killed at least 18 people, locals said.

Ten people were killed when four missiles were fired on a house in Dattak Khel area on North Waziristan, a strong base of Pakistani Taliban.

In the second strike in the afternoon, two missiles were fired at a vehicle, killing four people in the same area.

Four more people were killed when missiles hit a vehicle also in the same area.

U.S. drones regularly strike what it calls hideouts of the al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in the region.

Waziristan is the home of Taliban leaders Hakimullah Mehsood, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Mulla Nazir who are fighting against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, whose network is fighting against US and local forces in neighbouring Afghanistan, is also active in the region.

The network is run by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of former Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani. Pakistan is under pressure to launch operation against Haqqani network.

Since a suicide attack killed seven CIA employees in Afghanistan in December, covert US drone attacks have tremendously increased in the volatile Waziristan tribal region.

A number of high-profile militant leaders, including Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud were killed in the drone attack in August last year.

Pakistan's military launched an offensive against Taliban in South Waziristan last October and claims to have made big gains against Taliban and al-Qaeda strongholds.

Pakistan publicly criticizes drone attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty and fuel more anti-Americanism among the people, but observers widely believe that Pakistan shares intelligence with the US on drone strikes.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30000399

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