US drone attacks kill 13 in northwest Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Missiles from US drones slammed into militant hideouts overnight in northwestern Pakistan, killing 13 suspected insurgents and marking the resumption of the CIA-led program after a nearly six-month break, officials said Thursday.
The two separate drone strikes sparked swift condemnation by the Pakistani government. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the strikes, are a violation of Pakistani sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In the first strike, which came late Wednesday, a suspected American drone fired two missiles at a militant hideout in the North Waziristan tribal area near the Afghan border, killing three militants.
Then, early Thursday a suspected US missile strike targeted another militant compound in North Waziristan, killing at least 10 people, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
Pakistan’s northwest, particularly North Waziristan, is home to numerous militant groups — both local and Al-Qaeda-linked foreign groups — who often work together, sharing fighters, money or expertise.
There was no immediate information on the identities of those killed in the strikes but the two intelligence officials who gave information about the strike said the area is dominated by the Haqqani network, and most of those killed are believed to have belonged to the organization.
“We have also been hearing some names coming from our field agents, but we don’t have any confirmation so far,” said one of the officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.