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Iran Press TV

Fresh US drone attack leaves 16 dead in Pakistan's Waziristan

Iran Press TV

Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:8AM

At least 16 people have been killed in an attack by a US drone in Pakistan's troubled northwestern tribal region near the border with Afghanistan.

A local official, requesting not to be named, said the unmanned aerial vehicle fired two missiles at a vehicle traveling in Sherwangai town of South Waziristan region on Friday, leaving at least seven suspected members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban militant group dead.

However, residents reported that the drone also hit the house of a local tribesman, identified as Manan Mehsud, in the area, killing nine members of his family, including three women and five children.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) regularly uses drones for airstrikes and spying missions in Pakistan's mountainous tribal belt as well as neighboring Afghanistan.

Washington has also been conducting targeted killings through remotely-controlled armed drones in Somalia and Yemen.

US officials claim that the targets of the drone attacks are militants, but local officials and witnesses maintain that civilians have been the main victims of the attacks over the past few years.

The aerial attacks, initiated by former US President George W. Bush, have been escalated under his successor Barack Obama, who has defended the use of the controversial drones as "self-defense."

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the CIA has carried out 421 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, frequently prompting outcry from the government and civil groups.

Islamabad has repeatedly condemned the attacks as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, but the raids continue unabated.

The United Nations and several human rights organizations have identified the US as the world's number one user of "targeted killings," largely due to its drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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