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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pakistan: US drone attacks kill 61 in 24 hours

Malik Mumtaz & Irfan Burki - Uruknet.com

MIRAMSHAH/WANA: Twenty-four more people, including local and foreign militants, were killed and nine others injured in three separate drone attacks in South Waziristan and North Waziristan on Tuesday. Some news agencies and private television channels reported that the death toll in the drone strikes during the last 24 hours had reached 61.

Tribal sources in South and North Waziristan, where the government in the past signed peace accords with local Taliban leaders and tribes, reported an unprecedented rise in flights by the US spy planes. Official and tribal sources said in the first attack, a drone fired seven missiles at suspected hideouts of militants in the Malik Shahi village in Birmal Tehsil of South Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan’s Paktika province.

Eight people, mostly local and foreign militants, were killed in the attack. Tribal sources said the drone pounded a house where a group of Punjabi Taliban and tribal fighters were residing. There were also reports that some foreign fighters were among the dead and wounded. Tribal sources said some Arab nationals were present in the house during the attack. There was no immediate information about the nationality of the foreign militants.

Another 16 people, some of them stated to be tribal militants, were killed and nine others injured in two different missile attacks by the CIA-operated US drones in North Waziristan. Tribal sources said a drone fired six missiles, hitting a house in Dre Nishtar area in the mountainous Shawal valley in North Waziristan. There were reports that a group of tribal militants was staying in the house.

A house and two double-cabin pickup trucks were reportedly destroyed while another house located near the suspected compound of the militants was partially damaged in the attack. Tribesmen claimed that local villagers were killed and injured in the attack in Shawal valley.

In another attack, a drone fired two missiles, hitting a car in the Neway Adda village of Dattakhel area near the Afghan border. Both official and tribal sources said a local villager driving his personal car came under drone attack. Villagers said only body parts of the tribesman were collected from the spot of the attack.

This was the fourth attack during the past 24 hours by US spy planes in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Earlier, US drones on Monday night fired 12 missiles at two houses and killed 25 militants in the Gorweek area of North Waziristan near the Afghan border. Pakistani security officials and Taliban sources said the drones had fired 12 missiles at a large compound and two pickup trucks, reportedly used by the Afghan Taliban and their foreign guest fighters.

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