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US drone strikes kill 17 in NW Pakistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Jan 7, IRNA -- At least 17 persons were killed in US drone strikes in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region on Sunday, regional tribesmen said.

They said that four unmanned drones fired ten missiles at three houses in Babar Ghar village in South Waziristan, a tribal district bordering Afghanistan.

The suspected hideouts were completely destroyed in the attacks.

The hideouts belonged to Qari Imran, a militant commander believed to be affiliated with the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group, who was the target of the attacks.

Residents said that militants had cordoned off the area and were looking for more dead or wounded in the debris.

'There are members of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) among those who have been killed. We are trying to ascertain the identities of the others but the bodies have been burnt very badly,' the official said, adding that the death toll may rise.

The CIA-controlled drone operation is unpopular in Pakistan as the government opposes the attacks and describes it as a violation of sovereignty. However, the US has ruled out any change in its policy, claiming that Islamabad is reluctant to go after the militants in Waziristan.

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Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80488673



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