Top Qaeda commander among 17 killed as US drone strikes rain down in Waziristan

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Islamabad, Dec. 18 (ANI) : At least 17 suspected militants, including a key Al-Qaeda commander were killed in two separate drone attacks in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan.

According to reports, in the first attack, five US drones fired at least 10 missiles at two houses in the Ambarshaga area killing at least 15 people, including Al-Qaeda commander Zohaib Al-Zahidi.

Zahidi is said to be an important member of the outfit , who was involved in planning and executing several terrorist attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In the second attack, two Taliban extremists were killed when missiles targeted the vehicle they were travelling in, near Godi Wala village in Datta Khel tehsil, 40 kilometres Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan.

"The American drone fired two missiles, killing two militants and badly damaging a house and an attached guest portion. A car was completely destroyed.The militants rented out this house and were using it as a base," The Nation quoted a security official based in Miranshah, as saying.

This was probably the heaviest missile strike in the region, which comes days after the Obama administration made it clear that it would not hesitate to carry out strikes further inside Pakistan's territory if it gets credible actionable intelligence.

Washington has also been pressing Islamabad to initiate more action against one of the top Afghan Al-Qaeda commander, Sirajuddin Haqqani.

The region which was bombarded on Thursday evening is said to be a stronghold of local and foreign fighters allied to Haqqani.

The frequency of the drone strikes has increased considerably this year (over 40 attacks), which the US believes has proved very effective in breaking the back of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

However, Pakistan has been continuously condemning the Predator hits, saying they have proven detrimental to the 'war on terror', and have subsequently added fuel to the massive anti-American sentiment in the region. (ANI)

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