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Lethal US drone raid in Pakistan
At least 12 people are reported killed in two US missile strikes in North Waziristan.
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2010 18:52 GMT

At least 12 people have been killed by two US missile strikes in a Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials say.

The first strike took place at 8:00 pm in Mizar Madakhel village, some 50km west of Miranshah, the main town of the tribal North Waziristan district and a known hub of Taliban fighters.

Eight alleged fighters were killed when a US drone fired four missiles late on Wednesday, hitting a vehicle and a compound which were being used by armed groups, a senior security official in the area said.

He added that the second strike took place after a brief interval in the same area. It targeted two vehicles which armed groups were using to pull out bodies from the site of the first attack.

"Three missiles were fired in the second strike which killed four rebels," he said.

Another Pakistani intelligence official confirmed the strikes and casualties. The official said it was not immediately clear whether any "high value target" was present in the area at the time of the attack.

Regular target

US drone attacks routinely target Taliban commanders in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt, which Washington calls the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.

in depth
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A US drone strike in Miranshah in February killed Mohammed Haqqani, a brother of Al-Qaeda-linked Sirajuddin Haqqani, whose network is fighting against US and local forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The covert US drone war against Taliban leaders has focused increasingly on North Waziristan, a bastion of multiple armed groups, since a December 30 suicide attack killed seven CIA employees in Afghanistan.

North Waziristan borders Khost province, where a Jordanian doctor turned al-Qaeda double agent blew himself up in the deadliest attack on the US spy agency in 26 years.

Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked groups are blamed for a wave of suicide and bomb attacks across Pakistan that have killed more than 3,000 people since 2007.

The most recent attack claimed by Pakistan's Taliban faction was a suicide car bombing in Lahore on Monday that killed 15 people and destroyed offices used to interrogate suspected insurgents.

Source:
Agencies
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