U.S. drone attack kills 10 in Pakistan: officials

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 07, 2012 10:33 PM
U.S. drone attack kills 10 in Pakistan: officials

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (Reuters) - A U.S. drone aircraft killed 10 suspected militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan region near the Afghanistan border Wednesday, security officials and residents said, the fifth such strike this year.

The unacknowledged Central Intelligence Agency drone program, a key element in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, was apparently halted after a November NATO air attack from across the Afghan border killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, enraging Pakistan.

The United States resumed attacks with the missile-firing drones in northwest Pakistan on January 10.

In Wednesday's attack, a drone fired two missiles at a house suspected of being a militant hideout in the village of Thapi, 15 km (10 miles) east of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan.

The building was completely destroyed and 10 suspected militants were killed, Pakistani security officials said.

The use of the unmanned aircraft over Pakistan is opposed by most members of the public and Pakistani politicians, who regard the attacks as violations of sovereignty that produce unacceptable civilian casualties.

But despite its public stance, Pakistan has quietly supported the drone program since President Barack Obama ramped up air strikes after taking office in 2009.

Several militant groups have strongholds in Pakistan's northwestern ethnic Pashtun tribal regions, taking advantage of the porous border with Afghanistan to conduct cross-border attacks.

(Reporting by Haji Mujtaba in MIRANSHAH, Jibran Ahmad in PESHAWAR and Saud Mehsud in DERA ISMAIL KHAN; Writing by Qasim Nauman; Editing by Robert Birsel)