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- Thursday, January 12, 2012 - From Print Edition


PESHAWAR: After almost two months of lull, the CIA once again resumed drone strikes in the Pakistani tribal areas and struck a mud-house near Miramshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan Agency (NWA), reportedly killing a Saudi national early on Wednesday.


It was the first attack by the US drones in Pakistani territory after the November 17 strike in which the CIA-operated spy planes targeted a suspected militant hideout in Badamshah area of the remote Shawal Valley in North Waziristan and killed six people.


The US had suspended drone strikes in the volatile tribal areas after the US helicopters attacked the Pakistan Army border posts at Salala in Mohmand Agency on November 26 and killed 24soldiers besides injuring 13 others.


The US was forced to vacate the Shamsi Airbase in Balochistan that the CIA had been reportedly using for its drone attacks in Pakistani tribal areas, mostly in the South and North Waziristan agencies.


The tribesmen and local Taliban militants in North Waziristan who had signed a peace accord with the government were quite happy, as drones were no more hovering over their heads to eliminate them.


The tribesmen said that after disappearing for two months the drones, however, re-emerged a few days ago, causing serious worry to the people, particularly the militants and their sympathisers in the region.


Tribal sources in Miramshah said the drone early Wednesday morning fired two missiles and pounded a mud-house at Kharmanai village, almost a kilometre east of Miramshah, where an Arab national reportedly hailing from Saudi Arabia lived along with his wife and a young son. The Arab national was killed in the attack while his wife and son survived miraculously.


“A guest from the holy land (Saudi Arabia) living in a ramshackle house was killed on the spot but his wife and a son staying in the same room survived,” a tribesman in Miramshah town said on the phone on condition of anonymity.


He said the wife and son of the Arab national sustained minor injuries. They were taken to a private health facility in Miramshah for treatment. He was a common Arab fighter and lived in the house where an Afghan refugee family resided earlier, tribal sources said.


Security officials also said that only one person was killed in the attack. The tribesmen in North Waziristan believed the CIA might have resumed missile strikes in the tribal region after having reached an understanding with the Pakistan government.