US drone attack kills 10 in North Waziristan
* Building completely destroyed as drone fires two missiles at suspected terrorist hideout in Thapi village
MIRANSHAH: A US drone aircraft killed 10 suspected terrorists in the North Waziristan region near the Afghanistan border on Wednesday, security officials and residents said, the fifth such strike this year.
A drone fired two missiles at a house suspected of being a terror hideout in Thapi village, 15 kilometres east of Miranshah. The building was completely destroyed and 10 suspected terrorists were killed, security officials said.
“Almost all the men were burnt beyond recognition,” a villager said after visiting the destroyed house. “Dozens of terrorists arrived later and took over rescue work. They pulled out nine bodies,” he said, requesting anonymity. Security officials and villagers said the dead included foreign fighters, but they did not specify their nationalities.
The unacknowledged Central Intelligence Agency drone programme was apparently halted after a November NATO air attack from across the Afghan border killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The US resumed attacks with the missile-firing drones in northwest Pakistan on January 10.
While the Haqqani faction says it no longer needs a sanctuary in North Waziristan and has made enough battlefield gains in Afghanistan to stay there, it is known to still operate in the Pakistani border region.
A Pashtun tribal elder said terrorists usually avoided gathering, limiting groups to three or four people to minimise losses in the event of a drone attack. But they had dropped their guard recently.
“It has been freezing cold in the last few days and then there were no drones for some time. That’s why the terrorists started living together and suffered heavy losses,” the elder, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.
The use of the unmanned aircraft over Pakistan is opposed by most members of the public and Pakistani politicians, who regard the attacks as violations of sovereignty that produce unacceptable civilian casualties. reuters