15 killed in US drone strike in North Waziristan

January 17th, 2010 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, Jan 17 (IANS) At least 15 militants were killed and five others were seriously injured in a US drone strike in North Waziristan Sunday that apparently targeted Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud, reports from the area said.
The attack took place in Shaktoi, 40 km southeast of Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan.

A private TV channel quoted sources as saying the attacks “are being carried out due to the (suspected) presence of Hakimullah Mehsud (who was injured in a drone attack Thursday) in the area. The target was a militant’s compound in the area”.

The toll may go up, the sources said.

US drones have been targeting North Waziristan and South Waziristan as Washington has been mounting pressure on Pakistan to target militants who use its soil for offensives against NATO troops in Afghanistan.

However, the drone attacks are fuelling anti-American sentiments in Pakistan, Online news agency reported.

The TTP Friday confirmed that Hakimullah Mehsud was injured in a US drone attack, also at Shaktoi, on Thursday.

Local officials and the TTP were quoted as saying Mehsud was in a house in the town and that a meeting of foreign militants was underway when the US drone struck.

Two foreign militants and eight local fighters were among the 10 killed in the attack, while eight others, including Mehsud, were injured.

Mehsud, who received head injuries, was being treated at undisclosed location and his condition was described as being out of danger, Online news agency quoted sources as saying.

A vehicle belonging to Mehsud was destroyed in the attack, the sources added.

Hakimullah Mehsud had taken over the reins of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) after its previous chief, Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone strike last August.

The Pakistani military is currently engaged in a major offensive against the Taliban in the South Waziristan Agency and claims to have eliminated some 1,000 militants.

The operations had begun in October 2009 after the security forces had cleared Swat and three other districts of the North West Frontier Province of the militants, killing some 1,500 guerrillas.

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