Local officials said that a total of 10 people lost their lives when US Predator drones attacked a mosque in the village of Hasukhel in North-Western Pakistan. According to the US sources, those who killed were foreign militants from the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan. But locals insisted that all the ten casualties were among Pakistani citizens, who were worshipping inside the mosque when it came under attack on early Thursday.
The location of the latest drone attack was reported to be the village of Hasu Khel, located within the Mir Ali subdivision of North Waziristan Agency, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) province. Local government officials said that six of the victims were killed on spot by the strike, while a further four of them succumbed to their injuries later at a nearby hospital. The Lahore-based Pakistani daily newspaper, The Nation reported that most of those who killed during the attacks were Uzbek citizens.
The local officials were divided in opinion when asked whether the victims were foreign militants or local tribesmen. One of them admitted that the targeted place of worship was regularly used as a hideout by both the foreign and local insurgents. Another official said that the attacks occurred when the Fajr (morning) prayer was underway at the mosque.
Local sources claimed that the building was completely destroyed in the attack, and even the neighbouring structures sustained heavy damage. The bodies of the victims were disfigured beyond recognition and some of the seriously wounded were rushed to the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Miranshah. One doctors said that the death toll is likely to rise further, as some of the injured are in extremely critical condition. Local tribal chief Roashan Din was quoted as saying that a total of four drones took part in the attack.
The latest strike is the second such attack to occur inside North Waziristan, in a period of less than 24 hours. Although, this is the 13th US drone strike targeting N. Waziristan since the beginning of the year, it is the first time that a place of worship is being targeted. Four insurgents were killed near the district headquarters of Miranshah in another incident, which took place last Wednesday.