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- Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - From Print Edition


MIRAMSHAH/WANA/PESHAWAR: Eight people were killed and some others wounded Monday in a US drone strike on a house in a village near Mir Ali town in North Waziristan.


Earlier late Sunday, six people were killed and a few were injured in a missile strike by US drones in Azam Warsak village near Wana in South Waziristan. The death toll was 14 in the two separate attacks by the CIA-operated spy planes in South and North Waziristan tribal regions on Sunday and Monday nights.


The two attacks by the US drones in the Pakistani tribal areas were the first ones after the arrest of CIA spy Raymond Davis for killing two Pakistanis in Lahore. The last time the drones conducted missile attacks in Pakistani tribal areas was in Mir Ali in North Waziristan on January 23.


Many people thought the CIA had stopped missile attacks in the Pakistani tribal areas after the arrest of its agent in Pakistan. The news had sent a wave of joy among the tribes people of militancy-torn North Waziristan tribal region as they were hoping there would no more drone attacks on their villages and towns.


But their happiness was short-lived as the drones on the night between Sunday and Monday fired two missiles and struck a house at Azam Warsak village near Wana, the main town of South Waziristan tribal region.


Tribal sources said six people were killed in the attack and few others were injured. It was the first attack by the US drones in South Waziristan this year. The sources said the drone hit the house of tribesman Hukam Khan, who belongs to the Sarkikhel Wazir tribe. The identity of the slain people could not be ascertained, but local tribesmen claimed all of them were tribal people.


In another attack, eight people were killed and some others sustained injuries when the drones pounded a house at Malik Ashdar village of Mir Ali subdivision, 12 kilometers east of Miramshah, the principal town of North Waziristan.


Villagers and official sources said 10 US spy planes were seen hovering over various villages in Mir Ali and Miramshah throughout the day on Monday. According to villagers in Mir Ali, the drones fired four missiles and hit two rooms and a car parked inside the mud house.


The villagers claimed all the victims were local tribes people and had no affiliation with the militants. They said the injured people were rushed to a nearby hospital in Mir Ali town, where the doctors said condition of some of them was critical. The tribesmen who pulled out bodies from debris of the house said bodies of majority of the slain people were mutilated and beyond recognition.


Official sources said it was the eighth attack by the US spy aircraft in North Waziristan in 2011. Some officials and tribesmen said one of the main reasons behind the pause in drone attacks in North Waziristan could be cloudy weather in the region. “We were so excited when we heard there would be no more drone attacks in North Waziristan after the arrest of CIA agent Raymond Davis, reported to be the key player behind these strikes,” a disappointed tribesman, Noor Kalam Dawar said in Miramshah.


He said there were more than a dozen spy planes flying over various villages in the tribal region at low altitude on Monday and the angry tribesmen were seen firing at them. “The Americans don’t care for others and they would continue killing us,” Kalam felt.