South Asia News
Suspected US drone strikes kill at least seven in Pakistan
Feb 24, 2011, 15:39 GMT
Islamabad - Two suspected US drone attacks on Thursday killed at least seven people in Pakistan's troubled tribal regions along the Afghan border, security officials said.
An aircraft first fired three missiles at a compound in the area of Dattakhel Mohammedkhel near Miranshah in North Waziristan, which is considered a stronghold of al-Qaeda linked militants.
'At least five people have been killed in the attack that completely destroyed the house,' a security official said on the condition of anonymity.
He said the exact identity of those killed was not immediately known as militants surrounded the area to prepare for the burial of the bodies.
Shortly after, another drone targeted a vehicle that was making its way towards the compound hit by the first strike.
'Two people travelling in the vehicle were killed in the strike,' another official said.
The US has resumed drone attacks after a one-month lull that was meant to contain backlash following the killing of two people in the eastern city of Lahore by a US embassy employee, in what he said was self-defence against an attempted armed robbery.
Drones have killed hundreds of people, including a number of suspected Islamic insurgents, in Pakistan's inaccessible mountainous areas.
At least 15 alleged militants linked to al-Qaeda were killed on Monday in two drone strikes in North and South Waziristan, the two militancy-plagued border tribal districts.
Pakistan launched a major operation in South Waziristan last year, destroying militant hideouts. But it was reported that some of the Islamic fighters escaped and took refuge in North Waziristan.
North Waziristan is the only tribal district that has escaped major military operations in recent years, mainly due to a peace deal between militants and the government.
The US has repeatedly urged Pakistan to act in the area, but Islamabad says its forces are stretched thin due to assaults against Islamist insurgents in six other tribal districts and the adjoining north-western Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
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