US commando attack kills 15 in northwest Pakistan (Lead)

September 3rd, 2008 - 1:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Sep 3 (DPA) At least 15 people, including women and children, were killed by US special forces Wednesday during a raid on a border village in a Pakistani tribal region, local residents and security officials said.US soldiers arrived in three helicopters at Angor Adda area of the South Waziristan tribal district close to the Afghan border at around 3 a.m. and raided the house of a tribesman, Payo Jan Wazir.

“Ten people including three women and two children died during the action at Wazir’s house,” one local resident said.

The gunfire and successive blasts made the people in the surrounding houses to come out in panic. The foreign troops opened fire and killed at least five more civilians, the sources said.

A local security official said the US forces might have raided the compound to seize or kill some high-value target, as the area is a known sanctuary for Al Qaeda terrorists.

Pakistan’s top security official, Rehman Malik, told reporters Monday that government troops had recently narrowly missed an opportunity to capture Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The reported action in South Waziristan was the first involving US ground troops, although Washington has carried out several missile attacks and airstrikes in recent months at suspected militant hideouts.

Pakistan’s Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar said investigations were being conducted into the reports of US attack. He insisted that foreign troops are not allowed to operate independently on Pakistani soil.

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