x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

US missiles kill 12 in Pakistan

Suspected US drones fired missiles into a Pakistani tribal region killing 12 people, including five foreigners.

MIRANSHAH // Suspected US drones fired missiles into a Pakistani tribal region today killing 12 people, including five foreigners, in an area known as a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud. Pakistani officials said the attack targeted a house in a remote village on the border between North and South Waziristan, where Mehsud, an al Qa'eda ally, has been bottled up by Pakistani forces since early this year.

Frustrated by fighters from Pakistan fuelling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and fearful of al Qa'eda regrouping, US forces have intensified missile attacks by pilotless drones since early September, security sources say. "We have reports that 12 people were killed, including five foreigners," a paramilitary official told Reuters by telephone from the area. It was unclear if the dead foreigners included Arabs, who usually signify an al Qa'eda presence.

A relative and aides to Mehsud, and Pakistani government and paramilitary officials said the attack happened at around 2045 GMT, and up to four missiles were fired. "There were two drones flying in our area and they fired four missiles," a paramilitary official in the area said. "They were American." Missile-armed drones are primarily used by US forces in the region, though the United States seldom confirms drone attacks. Pakistan does not have any.