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Mushtaq Yusufzai, Malik Mumtaz & Irfan Burki
Sunday, January 25, 2009
From Print Edition
 
 

 

PESHAWAR/MIRAMSHAH/WANA: Thousands of tribesmen on Saturday attended the funeral prayers of the victims of Friday’s drone attacks in the North and South Waziristan Agencies. They condemned the killings and asked US President Barack Obama to spend the money on the welfare of the tribal people instead of killing them with sophisticated weapons.

 

Hundreds of tribesmen thronged Zyaraki village of North Waziristan Agency (NWA) to attend the funeral prayers of those killed in the drone attack.

 

Tribal militants and religious scholars present on the occasion were critical of the reporting of the international wire agencies and the national electronic media which, they said, reported that al-Qaeda operatives were killed in the CIA-operated spy-plane attack.

 

Religious scholars, including former MNA Maulana Deendar, Maulana Muhammad Alam and others, addressed a sizeable gathering of mourners at Zyaraki village of the Mirali subdivision and condemned air strikes by the US planes on the tribal villages.

 

They claimed that all those killed in the attack were innocent and local villagers, who had nothing to do with militancy or Taliban.

 

The CIA-operated spy plane on Friday evening fired three Hellfire missiles on the outhouse (Hujra) of Haji Khalil Dawar, killing 10 people and injuring several others.

 

There were also reports that four among the dead were Arabs, probably Egyptians, and one hailed from the Punjab, sources close to the militants confirmed. There were also rumours that a low-level Al-Qaeda operative — Mustafa al-Misri — was also among the dead.

 

However, relatives of Khalil Dawar and residents of Zyaraki village denied the killing of foreign nationals in the attack.

 

Agencies add: The death toll from two suspected US missile attacks on al-Qaeda bases has risen to 22, officials and residents said on Saturday. Eight suspected foreign militants were among the dead. A senior security official said authorities were trying to determine the seniority of an Egyptian al-Qaeda militant believed to have been killed.