A missile strike believed to have been launched by a US drone aircraft kills at least five people in Pakistan.
Suspected US missile strike kills five
A missile strike believed to have been launched by a US drone aircraft killed at least five people in the North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan today, Pakistani intelligence officials said. They said three children were among the wounded in the attack, that came just two days after Pakistan lodged a protest with the US ambassador over missile attacks on its territory. The missiles targeted a house near the town of Mir Ali. Surrounding villages have been targeted several times as the area has been a hive of Taliban and al Qa'eda activity in the past.
"According to our information two missiles were fired by the drone on a house," an intelligence officer in the region said. "We have confirmed reports of five people killed and six injured," added another official. It was unclear whether any of the casualties were foreigners, usually a sign of militant or al Qa'eda presence. There have been at least 20 strikes in the last three months, reflecting US impatience over militants from Pakistan fueling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and fears that al Qa'eda fighters in north-west Pakistan could plan attacks in the West.
Pakistan says the attacks violate its sovereignty, undermine efforts to win public support for the fight against militancy, and make it harder to justify the US alliance. An earlier diplomatic storm blew up after a US commando raid in early September, and there has been no incursion by ground troops since. The attack on Wednesday that sparked the diplomatic protest was unusual in that it took place deeper in Pakistani territory, in Bannu district, an area outside the semi autonomous tribal lands bordering Afghanistan where most other attacks have focused.
An Arab killed in the attack in Bannu was identified by a Pakistani intelligence officer as a known al Qa'eda operative, Abdullah Azam al-Saudi, though there has been no other corroboration. * Reuters