Tuesday, August 11, 2009

US Military Drone Raid Kills Pakistanis in Waziristan Region

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
16:17 Mecca time, 13:17 GMT

Drone raid 'kills' Pakistan Taliban

At least 10 suspected Taliban fighters have been killed in a US drone raid in Pakistan's South Waziristan region, officials and residents have said.

The attack on Tuesday occurred in the same area where Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader, is said to have been killed last week, the officials added.

The missiles targeted a house where Taliban fighters were being trained near the village of Ladda, in the heart of the Mehsud tribe's territory, Pakistan officials said.

Hamdullah Mehsud, a resident, said three missiles hit a large high-walled house.

"Eight bodies have been pulled out of the rubble and five were wounded," he told the Reuters news agency.

'Civilians killed'

A similar attack last Wednesday hit the house of Baitullah Mehsud's father-in-law in a village in the Makeen area of South Waziristan.

Pakistani officials say Mehsud, his second wife and bodyguards were killed in the attack.

But Taliban commanders insist their leader, who is suspected of masterminding the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistani's former prime minister, is alive.

Azam Tariq, a Taliban spokesman, telephoned the Associated Press news agency on Tuesday to confirm the US missile strike but denied there were casualties among Taliban fighters.

"An American missile hit a home in South Waziristan," he said. "Only innocent civilians were living there, and six of them died.

The US, which has put a $5m bounty on Mehsud's head, rarely discusses the missile strikes, which are carried out by unpiloted aircraft.

The pace of drone attacks in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas has increased in the past year.

Source: Agencies

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