U.S. intensifies drone strikes in NW Pakistan
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, Oct 28, IRNA -- The United States has increased drone strikes in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region and in a latest strike killed at least seven people on Thursday, officials in the region said.
The U.S. pilotless aircraft have carried out three strikes in the region in 24 hours and killed 12 people.
Five people were killed and seven others were injured in two drone strike in North Waziristan on Wednesday. Three foreigners were among those killed, according to security sources.
The strikes have been increased days after the conclusion of Pakistan-U.S. Strategic Dialogue in Washington (October 20-22), in which the American officials reportedly called for operation against the militants in North Waziristan.
Pakistani security officials said that the drone aircraft fired missiles on a house at Datta Khel area, some 30 kilometers from Miranshah, the center of North Waziristan Thursday morning.
They said the spy plane fired two missiles on the house, thought to be the hideout of the militants. The house was razed to the ground, the residents said.
Sources said that three foreign militants were among those killed but there was no information about their identity.
U.S. drones regularly strike suspected hideouts of the al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in Waziristan, which CIA considers as home of Taliban leaders Hakimullah Mehsood, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Mulla Nazir. They are accused of also sending fighters to Afghanistan for attacks on US and NATO forces.
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.
Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, whose network is fighting against U.S. 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.
A number of high-profile militant leaders, including Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud have been killed in the drone attacks.
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 strongly criticizes drone attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty and fuel more violence among the people, but observers widely believe that Pakistan shares intelligence with the US on drone strikes.
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