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US drone strikes kill 7 in NW Pakistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Oct 10, IRNA -- US drone aircraft Sunday fired missiles into Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region and killed at least seven people, state television reported.

It is the second strike in the same region in two days.

On Saturday, US drone hit a house in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan and killed at least five people.

Officials and witnesses gave different account of the Sunday’s drone strike. Witnesses said that a vehicle was hit but officials in the area said that the drone hit a house at Shawa area at 11 a.m.

They added that drone fired three missiles, killing four people at the scene and injuring four others. Three people died later.

The house was completely destroyed in the strike. An official said on the condition of anonymity that the house was being used by Taliban militants as a hideout.

The official did not say anything about the identity of those killed and injured.

Witnesses said that the slain people were burnt and could not be identified.

Locals could not rush immediately to the site of the strike, fearing another attack as US drones in the past fired at the people who wanted to go to the area for rescue.

US drones regularly strike suspected hideouts of the al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in the region.

Sunday's strike is the 6th in October. Over the last ten days, the US drones have stepped up their strikes at the hideouts of militants in Waziristan, killing at least 45 people including five German nationals who were believed to be trained at the militant's camp in North Waziristan.

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.

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

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: 30011865

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