Sunday Jul 28, 2013

Eight killed in US drone strike in N Waziristan

MIRANSHAH: Eight persons were killed when a US drone fired two missiles at a house in the mountainous Shawal valley of the North Waziristan tribal region on Sunday.

Tribal sources said the drone hit a three-room structure where some people, suspected to be militants, were having an Iftar dinner.There was also speculation that four of the slain people were foreign fighters.

“They were all having an Iftar dinner in the compound when the drone fired two missiles. A group of militants arrived and started pulling out the bodies after an hour when the drone had disappeared,” a tribesman said.The tribesman said local tribal militants later told them that four among the slain militants were Arab fighters.

Government officials also confirmed the drone strike and said it took place in the remote forest-covered Shawal valley near the Afghan border where the militants usually set up sanctuaries in summer.

“The weather in Shawal remains very pleasant during summer and that’s why most of the militant groups, particularly foreigners, shift their camps to this remote region,” one of the officials said in Miranshah, headquarters of North Waziristan.

There was no immediate information about the identity of the slain militants.There has been a significant decline in US drone strikes in the tribal areas along the Afghan border during the past few months, apparently due to the strong protest by the new government.

Besides foreign militants, top Pakistani militant commanders, including Commander Nek Mohammad, Baitullah Mehsud, Qari Hussain, Maulvi Nazeer, Ilyas Kashmiri and Maulana Waliur Rahman, have been killed in drone strikes.