Six militants – including a leading commander of al Qaeda and militants from Hafiz Gul Bahadur’s group – were killed when an unmanned US drone attacked a compound in the border region of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) in the early hours of Sunday.
Confirming the report, officials said the drone fired two missiles at the compound, established at Khar Tangi in Datakhel tehsil. As a result of the strike, almost all occupants within the compound were either killed or injured.
Later the officials confirmed that six people were killed and two others were injured in the attack.
As the drone hovered in the air for around an hour, rescue activities started very late. The rescue workers, mostly local tribesmen associated with militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar, shifted the injured to local clinics; whereas the dead persons were buried in a local graveyard.
Officials and tribesmen said the deceased included an al Qaeda commander Umar al Farooq commonly known as Farooq Ustad. Farooq is said to be al Qaeda’s coordinator for the Arab region and Pakistan. He was residing in the tribal territory since long.
Omar Al Farooq is the second top al Qaeda man killed in two consecutive days. A day earlier, the ISPR said security forces killed al Qaeda commander Adnan el Shukrijuma during a raid at the Sheen Warsak area of South Waziristan.
Five soldiers killed
Meanwhile, five troops were killed and as many sustained injuries in two separate militant attacks in Khyber and North Waziristan agencies on Sunday.
According to an official deputed at Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency, more than a dozen militants stormed a security forces’ check post at Sher Khel Darra area of the valley. As a result, three security forces personnel died on the spot while five were severely injured.
“However, security forces retaliated against the attack and killed five and injured eight of the attackers,” he claimed. The injured troops were later shifted to a hospital; however one of them succumbed to his injuries on the way, he added.
In a separate incident, a jawan was also killed and another was injured, when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near a group of security forces personnel at Datta Khel area of North Waziristan on Sunday.
Political administration officials said the incident took place as security forces were busy in a search operation at village Teet Naray Manzar Khel in Tehsil Datta Khel. The dead body and the injured were later airlifted to Miranmshah, the headquarters of the NWA.
Meanwhile, clashes between militants of Lashkar-e-Islam and pro-government militia Tauheedul Islam continued on the second day but no casualties were reported.
The security forces are engaged in military operations in Khyber Agency and the NWA. The high-ups in the armed forces are showing satisfaction particularly with regard to Zarb-e-Azb, in which around 1,200 militants, including foreigners, hiding in the NWA have been killed.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2014.