US missile strike, blast kill over 30 in Pakistan (Lead)

October 27th, 2008 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Oct 27 (DPA) At least 20 people were killed in a missile attack carried out by a suspected US drone, while 10 security personnel and a technician died in a suicide bombing in Pakistan’s tribal region, officials said Monday.A single missile fired from a pilotless aircraft hit the house of local Taliban commander Mohammad Omar late Sunday in the Shakai area of South Waziristan, they said.

“Commander Omar and 19 more people died in the strike, and three were injured,” a security official said.

The attack demolished Omar’s house and badly damaged two adjacent buildings.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said eight among the dead were believed to be “foreigners”, the term used to refer to Al Qaeda-linked fighters of Arab and Central Asian origin.

The area where the strike took place is considered a stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, purported to be the head of the Pakistani Taliban.

Mehsud, who is in his late 30s, is accused of having ordered dozens of attacks across Pakistan on security personnel and political leaders, including a suicide gun-and-bomb attack that killed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto late last year.

His followers are also charged with launching cross-border raids on international troops in Afghanistan.

The missile strike came as Baitullah’s followers had just returned from the funeral of his brother Yahya Mehsud, whose bullet-riddled body was found Saturday in the neighbouring Domail area of the Bannu district of North West Frontier Province.

In another development, a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into a security post in Mohmand Agency, another tribal district.

The post, which was jointly manned by the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) and tribal police called Khasadars, was destroyed.

“Seven FC soldiers and three Khasadars died in the incident,” a local intelligence official said. “One telecommunications engineer present at the blast site was also killed.”

Mohmand borders Bajaur Agency, where government troops have been conducting a major offensive against Taliban militants since early August.

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Posted in South Asia |

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