At least 16 people were reported killed in three separate drone strikes in two different locations in the North Waziristan tribal agency on Friday.
The first drone fired two missiles targeting a suspected militant vehicle in Khaisor town, about 30 kilometres north of Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan region. The attack left three militants dead, one official said. Another security official put the death toll at four.
Two more missiles followed about 15 minutes after the first strike, killing another three militants, local officials said, updating an earlier figure of two. The second strike came as militants were engaged in rescue work after the first attack, a security official said. Security officials in Peshawar confirmed the two strikes killed six militants.
In a third strike, as many as 10 people were reported killed. Details of this attack were sketchy and unconfirmed.
Missile attacks doubled in the tribal areas last year with more than 100 drone strikes killing over 670 people in 2010 compared with 45 strikes that killed 420 in 2009, according to an AFP tally. The last drone hit on Tuesday, when missiles targeting a compound killed five militants near Wana, the main town in South Waziristan tribal region.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2011.