MIRANSHAH/ PESHAWAR: Ten people were killed and three others seriously injured in yet another US drone attack, this time on a mosque in Hasukhel village in the Mir Ali subdivision of North Waziristan Agency early Thursday.
This was the second missile attack by pilotless US spy planes in North Waziristan in the last two days. Reports said the victims included foreign militants, believed to be Turkmen. Villagers and officials of the political administration, however, insisted that all the worshippers were local residents. Tribal sources said the drone fired two missiles and pounded the village mosque where the tribesmen were offering the Fajr (morning) prayers.
“Some of the people had offered the prayers and were leaving the mosque. Others were still praying and some were reciting the Holy Quran, when the drone fired two missiles and struck the mosque. The small structure of the mosque was demolished in the attack and those present inside were buried under the debris of the building,” a tribesman, Mohammad Roshan Dawar, said.
Talking to The News from Hasukhel village by phone, he said four US spy planes were seen flying over the area at the time of the attack. He said a large number of villagers later arrived there and helped retrieve the bodies of the slain men and those injured in the attack.
The tribesman said some houses located close to the mosque were also damaged in the missile strike, but did not cause any loss of life to the inmates. He said bodies of the slain men were mutilated beyond recognition.
“Their bodies were almost burnt and could not be recognised easily. It was a horrible scene as the villagers were offering prayers and reciting the Holy Quran in the mosque but within minutes there was devastation and human bodies lying everywhere,” the tribesman recalled.
Tribal sources said three people seriously injured in the attack were admitted to the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Miranshah.Pleading anonymity, a senior doctor at the Miranshah Agency Headquarters Hospital said all the three injured were in critical condition. “They were brought to us in a serious condition and had suffered multiple injuries. Also, we do not have any facility here in the hospital to save lives of seriously injured patients. Let alone other facilities, the only X-ray machine at the hospital is also out of order,” the doctor said.
Government officials based in Mir Ali confirmed that the drone had targeted the village mosque. Drones in the past had pounded schools, houses, Hujras and even the tribal Jirgas were not spared, but this was the first time that a mosque was attacked in North Waziristan. This was the 13th drone attack in North Waziristan this year.