Twelve suspected militants were killed in Shawal Tehsil of North Waziristan Agency when an unmanned US predator drone fired at least six missiles at a compound used as a training centre by militants.
An intelligence official told The Express Tribune that the missiles were fired at the Torabi Markaz, a compound used as a training facility by militants. “The drone struck the compound with at least six missiles and destroyed it completely,” said the official.
He added that although 12 militants were killed, the casualties may rise.
The strike was the first recorded one in the month of Ramazan. The area of Shawal is considered to be a stronghold of militant warlord Hafiz Gulbahadur.
Meanwhile, in a speech at an event organised by the World Affairs Council at the National Press Club, US Senate Committee on Intelligence chairperson Senator Dianne Feinstein said that the collateral damage caused by the unilateral strikes has been greatly reduced.
She added that the committee’s staff has made 28 visits to various centres as part of their oversight of the drone programme.
Meanwhile, dozens of militants attacked a security check-post in tehsil Barawal of Upper Dir District.
A security official informed The Express Tribune that more than 40 militants attacked the Tharpana Kandao security check-post at around 11:10 am.
“Security forces in retaliation killed 16 militants,” he revealed. Their bodies are still in the custody of security forces.
The security official said that militants were continuously attacking the check-post from across the border to get back the bodies.
In a separate incident, three people were killed in Datta Khel, North Waziristan Agency, when a roadside bomb exploded near a vehicle.
(WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY HUMA IMTIAZ FROM WASHINGTON)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2012.