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Central & South Asia

US drone kills 12 in Pakistan tribal area

Four missiles fired at vehicle and compound in North Waziristan, as Pakistani army operation in area kills 35 others.

Last updated: 16 Jul 2014 09:45
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The attack came amid a Pakistani military offensive against Taliban fighters [AFP]

At least 12 people have been killed in a US drone attack in the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan, , sources have told Al Jazeera, the second such attack this week.

Wednesday’s attack took place in the Dattakhel area of North Waziristan, about 30km west of Miranshah. Four missiles fired by the drone targeted a vehicle, local sources said, resulting in the destruction of the vehicle and an adjacent compound.

Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the death toll, as access to the area is restricted. The AP news agency said 15 people were killed, citing two anonymous Pakistani officials.

The strike on Wednesday was the fifth since a six-month hiatus of such attacks by US forces ended in June.

Dozens killed in airstrikes

Pakistan’s military launched an operation on June 15 against the Pakistan Taliban and its allies in North Waziristan, who use the contested tribal area as a hub for activities in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, 

On Wednesday, the military said that it had killed 35 "fleeing terrorists" in aerial bombardment of the Shawal Valley area of North Waziristan.

The strikes came after at least five soldiers and 11 "terrorists" were killed in an intense exchange of fire in the town of Mir Ali on Tuesday, the military said.

According to the military’s figures, more than 455 people have been killed in air strikes and a ground offensive in North Waziristan since operation began. At least 25 soldiers have also been killed, the military says.

The military says that all of those killed were "terrorists". Al Jazeera is unable to independently verify the identities of those killed, or the death tolls, as access to the area is restricted during the ongoing military operation.

TTP commander captured

Also on Tuesday, Pakistani forces captured Adnan Rashid, a senior Pakistan Taliban commander, in the Shakai area of the neighbouring South Waziristan, according to intelligence sources.

Rashid, a former technician in the Pakistani air force, had previously been arrested in connection with an assassination attempt on former president Pervez Musharraf in 2003.

He escaped from prison in April 2012, however, after a bold attack by Taliban fighters armed with guns, rockets and grenades.

Rashid is the first high-level commander to have been named as captured by Pakistan since the operation began. 

Pakistan’s military says that it has captured several Taliban commanders, but that it is not yet prepared to release their names to the media.

More than 900,000 people have fled North Waziristan since the June operation began, according to official figures, with most seeking refuge in the neighbouring district of Bannu.

Follow Asad Hashim on Twitter: @AsadHashim

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Al Jazeera
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