Peshawar, Nov 15: US drones have fired at least three missiles into a Pakistani tribal region, killing 12 people, including five foreigners, in an area known as a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud.
The US drone struck the Auladin area of Garyum village in Pakistan's North Waziristan Agency (NWA) early on Friday, Nov 14. Nine of the dead are believed to be local militants. The missiles were fired at a house owned by a local tribesman, Amir Gul. "We have reports that 12 people were killed, including five foreigners," a paramilitary official told a foreign news agency. "It was unclear if the dead foreigners included Arabs, who usually signify an al-Qaeda presence. There were two drones flying in our area and they fired four missiles. They were American," he added.
The strike, which is the 38th of its kind since Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani took oath of his office on March 25 this year, completely destroyed the house, The News reported.
Three people were injured in the attack, who were rushed to a nearby private health facility. One of the injured is stated to be in a critical condition.
Three of the dead were identified as close family members of Amir Gul, who was not present in his house at the time of the strike. Tribesmen claimed that all the dead were local people and that nine bodies were mutilated beyond recognition.
Authorities, however, insisted that at least nine of the dead were militants but did not confirm if there was any foreigner in the house.
Pakistan has condemned the violations of its territory and argues that the attacks fuel anger towards the US and undermines the government's own efforts to garner people's support for the campaign against militancy.