Thursday, October 16, 2008

Suspected U.S. missile kills 1 in Pakistan

By Ishtiaq Mahsud - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Oct 16, 2008 7:20:01 EDT
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan — A suspected U.S. missile strike hit a house in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing one purported foreign militant and injuring another, officials said.

The strike took place in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan’s wild border belt, considered a likely hiding place for al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials said reports from informants and field agents suggested that one suspected foreign militant died in the attack and that another foreigner was injured.

Asked if any al-Qaida leaders had been hit, the officials said that while Arabs had been living in the house, the identities of the victims were not yet clear.

They said foreign and Pakistani militants had frequented the house in a remote, forested area since its owner fled the tribal region last year.

A local resident, Javed Mehsud, said he saw a number of unmanned planes in the sky before and after three explosions destroyed the house in the village of Tapargai.

U.S. military and CIA drones that patrol the frontier region are believed to have carried out at least a dozen missile strikes against suspected militant targets since August. The U.S. rarely confirms or denies involvement in the attacks.

All of those strikes, as well as a highly unusual raid by helicopter-borne commandos, have been in the regions of North and South Waziristan, key strongholds for Islamic militants fighting on both sides of the border.

Thursday’s strike was the first in over a year in the territory of Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s most prominent Taliban leader and the chief suspect in last year’s assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

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