Deaths in latest drone strike in Pakistan

Third strike in as many days takes death toll from recent airstrikes against suspected fighters to at least 27 people.


    The third US drone strike in as many days in Pakistan has raised the three-day death toll in the aerial attacks to at least 27, according to Pakistani intelligence officials.

    Monday's strike in the Hesokhel village of North Waziristan's tribal areas, was said to have targeted a hideout for fighters, officials said.

    The latest strike, which officials said had killed 15 people, was the seventh in a span of less than two weeks.

    The attack on Monday morning came just after a strike on Sunday that killed 10 suspected fighters. Two Pakistani intelligence officials say in that attack, four missiles were fired at targets in the village of Mana Raghzai in South Waziristan near the border with neighbouring Afghanistan.

    'Toxic relationship'

    The continued US drone campaign, which has accelerated under President Barack Obama, has become a point of contention between Islamabad and Washington.

    Al Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Islamabad, said the recent spate of attacks have led to a "pretty toxic [relationship] right now between Islamabad and Washington".

    Inside Story: Breaking point for US-Pakistani relations

    That tension, said our correspondent, has also spilled out from the capital and onto the streets. "Many people here in Pakistan are frankly tired of the United States' presence in the region, and are calling for Islamabad to sever ties with the US," he said.

    The ongoing attacks are also complicating efforts for the US and Pakistan to arrive at an agreement over reopening the supply routes to NATO and American forces in Afghanistan.

    Our correspondent said the recent strikes, which has been seen as the US "showing with a lot of deadly force, their frustration with Pakistan".

    This, has pushed "any kind of agreement further than ever", he added.

    American airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November, prompting Islamabad to block US and NATO
    supply lines en route to its neighbour to the north running through its territory.

    Pakistan has demanded an apology over the raid and an end to drone strikes as a precursor to reopening the supply lines.

    The supply lines through Pakistan are considered vital to the planned withdrawal of most foreign combat troops from Afghanistan before the end of 2014.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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