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11 militants killed in US drone attacks in Pakistan

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 - 12:45am IST | Place: ISLAMABAD | Agency: PTI
In the first attack early this morning, the CIA-operated drones fired at least eight missiles at a compound and a vehicle at Hassokhel, 25 km from Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan Agency.

US spy planes carried out two strikes in the lawless North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan today, killing 11 militants as the CIA stepped up its drone campaign against the backdrop of increased tensions between Islamabad and Washington.

In the first attack early this morning, the CIA-operated drones fired at least eight missiles at a compound and a vehicle at Hassokhel, 25 km from Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan Agency.

At least seven militants were killed.

The drones struck twice within half an hour, local residents said.

Foreign fighters, including Uzbeks and Arabs, are believed to be present in the area targeted.

Later in the evening, a drone targeted a vehicle in Datta Khel, 30 km from Miranshah, and killed four militants.

At least 29 militants have died in five drone attacks carried out in the past six days.

Four militants were killed in a drone strike on May 26 while four more were killed in an attack near Miranshah on May 23.

Ten militants, mostly foreigners, were killed in yet another missile strike on May 24.

The US stepped up drone strikes last week shortly after the conclusion of the NATO Summit in Chicago, where Pakistan did not make any announcement about ending a nearly six-month blockade of supply routes to Afghanistan.

The supply lines were shut after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year.

The string of drone strikes have added to tensions between the US and Pakistan, which has described the attacks as a violation of its sovereignty and called for them to be stopped.

The US eased its drone campaign in Pakistan's tribal area after a CIA contractor was arrested for shooting and killing two Pakistani men in Lahore early last year.

Washington has been pressing Islamabad to launch a military operation in North Waziristan Agency, which American officials have said is a safe haven for the Haqqani network that has been blamed for a series of brazen attacks on Western targets in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has been resisting US pressure to launch a sweeping offensive against militants in the area, saying its troops have been stretched by operations in other parts of the tribal belt.

US-Pakistan relations have been in free fall since last year, and Islamabad has been insisting that Washington should apologise for the NATO air strike.

President Barack Obama snubbed Pakistan at the NATO Summit by refusing to hold a one-to-one meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari.


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