The death toll from the US drone strikes in the tribal belt has risen to 15.
Updated from print edition (below)
Drone strikes leave 11 dead
Two separate US drone strikes in the tribal belt killed 11 suspected militants on Sunday. The first strike occurred on the border between North and South Waziristan agencies in the morning, while the second struck Tabbi Toll Khel in the evening.
Four militants are reported to have been killed in the first strike, while seven were killed in the second.
In the first strike, missiles fired by a pilotless drone targeted a tunnel that was used by militants to hide near Algad, said a security official. Speaking to The Express Tribune on condition on anonymity, he said a search operation was immediately conducted and 15 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) along with 20 rockets and three anti-aircraft guns were recovered from the site. Five suspected militants are reported to have been injured in the strike.
The former residence of slain Tehrik-i-Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud is also located in the area. This is also the area where Hakimullah Mehsud was targeted by a drone strike in January. Other officials said the targets were suspected militants loyal to Commander Sherzaman.
The second drone strike in the Tabbi Toll Khel area in North Waziristan Agency killed seven suspected militants and injured three. US drones fired two missiles at a house of suspected militants. After the attack, locals rushed to the spot and began helping the injured. It is not yet clear whether any high-level commanders were injured in the attacks.
Waziristan came under renewed scrutiny when Faisal Shahzad, the
Pakistani-American charged over an attempted bombing in New York on May 1, allegedly told US interrogators he received bomb training there.
The US has been increasing pressure on Pakistan to crack down on militant havens along the Afghan border. The military has not ruled out an offensive in North Waziristan, but argues that gains in South Waziristan and Swat need to be consolidated to prevent troops from being over-stretched. (Additional input from Agencies, NEWS DESK)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2010.
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