At least eight people were killed after a US drone targeted a moving vehicle in the Datta Khel tehsil of North Waziristan Agency on Thursday, The Express Tribune was told.
Tribesmen said that the attack took place at around 11 am in which a US drone fired two missiles on a double-cabin pick-up in the Paikhel Mazdok area of the Datta Khel tehsil, close to the Pak-Afghan border. They said that the attack left at least eight people dead.
The vehicle was going towards Mazdok village, eyewitnesses said. However, it was not clear which militant group was targeted in this drone attack which was the second in North Waziristan this month and the third drone attack after the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Earlier, a drone raid killed at least 15 people also in Datta Khel tehsil.
Thursday’s attack also coincided with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s designation of Badruddin Haqqani, a leader of the Haqqani network, as a terrorist. The Haqqani network is said to have its strongholds in the Datta Khel tehsil of North Waziristan, which is effectively controlled by the Hafiz Gul Bahadar-led Waziri Taliban.
Datta Khel had to bear the brunt of an intensive drone campaign last year, during which at least 120 of 127 drone strikes were carried out in North Waziristan.
Also on Thursday, at least five people, including three tribesmen and two Afghan army soldiers, were killed in a clash in the Lowa Mandi area of the North Waziristan Agency.
Local people said that the clash occurred after the tribesmen, who were on their way to the Paktia province of Afghanistan, refused to let their vehicle be searched by Afghan soldiers. All tribesmen involved in the clash are said to be residents of Seragai village in North Waziristan.
Sources said that the bodies of the tribesmen were shifted to Ghualm Khan tehsil, while the bodies of the Afghan soldiers were airlifted to Khost province.
With additional reporting from Express News’ Miranshah correspondent Nasrullah.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2011.
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