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- Thursday, March 11, 2010 - From Print Edition


MIRAMSHAH/ PESHAWAR: Fourteen people were killed in US drone attacks on Ziarat village of Datta Khel Tehsil, 45 kilometres west of Miramshah, North Waziristan, on Wednesday evening.


Tribal sources told The News from the border town of Datta Khel that five US spy planes had been seen flying continuously over the area since Wednesday afternoon. The drones fired Hellfire missiles on a double-cabin pickup truck in which some militants were reportedly travelling towards the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.


According to sources, the drones fired five missiles at the vehicle and one of them hit the pick-up, splitting it into pieces. The sources added that all the six men on board were killed on the spot.


Villagers said bodies of all the six men were disfigured and could not be recognised. A security official based in the troubled tribal region said on condition of anonymity that those killed in the first attack on the pickup truck were foreigners but he didn’t provide further details about their nationality and identity.


Tribal sources said the drones later fired another two missiles when some villagers and militants arrived there to retrieve the bodies of those killed in the first attack. “There were some residents of the nearby Ziarat village while militants came in two vehicles to recover the bodies of those killed in the attack but they too lost their lives when they came under attack by the spy plane,” a tribal elder said but declined to be named.


He said eight people were killed and five others sustained injuries in the second missile strike on the rescue party. The elder said the other people who had gathered there to help the victims of the drone attack returned to their homes in Ziarat village for fear of more attacks as the drones were still flying over the area.


Meanwhile, official sources said the death toll from the Monday’s drone attack near Miramshah reached 13 as two more bodies were recovered from rooftops of nearby shops in the market.


They said five people, suspected to be foreigners, were killed on the spot while six others who had been injured died of their injuries on the second day of the missile strikes.


“Two more bodies were recovered on Wednesday from rooftops of shops at a nearby market in Miramshah,” said a security official, who wished not to be identified. He claimed most of them were foreigners.