US drones kill 9 Islamist militants in Pakistan strikes
21 November 2014, 09:09
Islamabad - Suspected US drones killed nine Islamist militants in Pakistan in two separate strikes targeting ethnic Uzbek and Arab fighters, officials said Friday.
The unmanned aircraft fired missiles at a compound and a vehicle in North Waziristan near the Afghan border, said a military official who requested anonymity.
At least five militants, including foreigners, were killed in the attack, which occurred late on Thursday night, he said.
Hours later, another strike in neighbouring South Waziristan killed four more militants, including Arab fighters from al-Qaeda, said an intelligence official who asked not to be named.
The identities of the dead militants were not immediately known.
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The compound in North Waziristan was being used by fighters from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group of militants from Central Asia, the intelligence official said.
Al-Qaeda and its allies, including the IMU, controlled North Waziristan for almost a decade and have used the region for cross-border attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan.
But they have been on the run since the Pakistani military launched an offensive there beginning in mid-June this year.
The army says it has killed some 1 200 militants during that time, but such claims are difficult to verify independently.
Pakistan's foreign ministry condemned the strikes, saying drone attacks were not needed at a time when Islamabad itself was fighting Islamist militants.