US drone strikes kill 15 militants in Pak
Last Updated: Friday, June 11, 2010, 13:55
Peshawar: Carrying out two waves of strikes in less than 12 hours on Pakistan's troubled northwest, US drones fired a volley of hellfire missiles targetting Taliban and al-Qaeda hideouts killing 15 militants, including Arabs and Chechens, and wounding scores of others.

Shattering a brief lull in attacks, the Predator and Reaper drones hovered over the North Waziristan region where US intelligence suspect that large number of al Qaeda, Taliban and Haqqani network militants are hiding.

Six missiles were fired in a pre-dawn attack on a house in Maizer village, 45 kms from Miranshah, the main town in north Waziristan killing the 15 militants, official sources said.

Six to seven militants of Arab, Uzbek and Chechen origin were among 12 killed when the missiles struck a house believed to be a militant hide-out.

Late last night, the drones carried out another strike in the nearby Khaddi village, about 15 kms away from Maizar, killing three foreign militants.

The fresh drone attacks came after a step up in UAV strikes in May on North Waziristan in which al Qaeda number three, Mustafa al-Yazid was killed. After these attacks, there was a lull in drone strikes.

More than 900 militants have been reported killed in 100 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008.

US is putting pressure on Pakistan to launch a military offensive in the region, but the army has so far resisted claiming it was overstretched and committed in other parts of the volatile region close to the Afghan border.

But now, Pakistani leaders have hinted that security forces are set to launch an operation in North Waziristan. British daily 'The Guardian' quoting sources close to Taliban recently reported that the elusive al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden may be hiding in deeply dug hideouts in North Waziristan.

The villages around Khaddi and Maizer hit by the drones are known for the presence of the thousands of heavily armed fighters of Taliban commanders Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Mulla Sadiq Noor.


First Published: Friday, June 11, 2010, 13:55

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