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Dozen killed in US missile strike in Pakistan

May 15, 2008 14:34 IST

A missile strike on a Taliban commander's compound in Pakistan's restive Bajaur Agency that killed at least a dozen people was the third such attack by suspected American pilotless drones in the region.
    
Local residents said a drone fired two missiles at a two-storey compound in Khaza, a small hamlet in Damadola area, at about 8.45 pm on Wednesday.
    
The missiles hit the home of Maulvi Ismail, where some militants had gathered for dinner, and the compound of his cousin Maulvi Obaidullah, a local Taliban commander.
    
Obaidullah's son Taj Muhammad was among those killed, residents said. The Taliban immediately cordoned off the site of the attack and barred people from going to the area.
    
Reports said foreign militants were among the dead.

The missile strike reportedly triggered a series of blasts, apparently caused by a stockpile of explosives.
    
Several people were believed to have been injured in the attack but little information has come out of the remote area.
    
Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said the army had no information of any missile strike in the area.

However, local residents have blamed such strikes on drones operated by the American forces in Afghanistan.
    
This was the third missile strike in the Damadola area.
    
Eighteen people, including 14 members of a family, were killed when a residential compound was hit by a missile on January 13, 2006.

It was reported at that time that the strike was carried out on the basis of faulty intelligence that Al Qaeda No 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri had come there to attend a dinner.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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