Airman 1st Class Justin Cole communicates with the pilot of an MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in preparation for a night mission Nov. 5 at Ali Base, Iraq. The Predators are now fully operational and have begun 24-hour operations. Airman Cole is deployed from Creech Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Snyder)

Ten alleged insurgents were killed today when US drones fired missiles at their hideout, located near the Pak-Afghan border in South Waziristan. The incident follows another drone attack yesterday which killed two suspected Al Qaeda operatives. The latest strike is the sixth such attack conducted by US in South Waziristan, in the last two weeks.

According to the Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English language daily, a total of ten suspected militants, including two of the high ranking commanders were killed when US drones fired a total of four missiles at their residence. The residence belonged to a local insurgent leader, who was in the US hit-list for quite some time now. According to the newspaper, the incident occurred when militants gathered inside the house, to offer their prayers and condolences to those who were killed in yesterday’s drone attack. Pakistani defence sources confirmed the attack, and said that 8 of the dead were its citizens.

South Waziristan has seen a surge in US drone attacks for the last two weeks, ever since the NATO summit in Chicago ended on May 21. The NATO sources claims that South Waziristan is used as a base by Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives to launch attacks against the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) positions located deep inside Afghanistan.

Pakistani intelligence officials reported that the attack occurred near the village of Mana Raghzai, situated only a few miles from the Afghan border. Yesterday also, another drone strike had hit the Dogh village, located nearby. The Pakistani government officials have condemned the US strikes and have asked the Americans to respect the territorial sovereignty of Pakistan. However, US officials have ignored the requests, by claiming that attacking the militants at their bases in FATA is essential to reduce the casualties among the ISAF personnel.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a UK based agency released a report yesterday which states that a total of 655 people have lost their lives in NATO drone strikes within Pak borders so far. Although the report failed to give the exact number of militants killed during the strikes, it claimed that at least 126 of those who killed were unarmed civilians without any militant links.


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