At least 12 militants were killed and two others injured late Monday when a US drone fired missiles at compounds in two separate attacks in the Mir Ali tehsil of North Waziristan Agency.
A security official said the attack took place around midnight. A dozen US missiles were fired at suspected militant compounds in the Haidar Khel and Haso Khel villages, some 30 kilometres east of Miramshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan Agency.
According to one resident, US drones dropped some eight missiles on a house in the Haidar Khel village, killing eight militants and injuring one. Some 15 minutes later, he said, four more missiles were fired targeting one Noor Muhammad’s house in the Haso Khel village where four suspected militants were killed and one was wounded.
Multiple drones were later seen hovering in the sky which created panic among tribesmen. Consequently, local tribesmen from the village rushed to the site and pulled out the bodies from the debris.
“US drones strikes have dramatically increased in North and South Waziristan with the advent of the new year,” a resident said.
“US drones fired missiles on two militant compounds,” a security official in Miramshah told AFP.
Last week, a prominent warlord, who had sent insurgents to fight Nato troops in neighbouring Afghanistan, was killed in a drone attack along with nine other militants in the tribal belt.
Mullah Nazir, one of the highest-profile drone victims in recent years, was the main militant commander in South Waziristan, part of the tribal zone where militants linked to the Taliban and al Qaeda have bases on the Afghan border.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that a foreign tactical trainer for al Qaeda was also reportedly among those killed in the latest strike, although reports differed on his nationality. Some intelligence officials said he was from Somalia but others said he was from the United Arab Emirates.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AGENCIES)
Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2013.