12 killed in US drone attack in North Waziristan

12 killed in US drone attack in North Waziristan

Witnesses said 12 bodies were pulled out of the rubble. Several of the injured were reported to be in a critical condition, TV channels reported.

The drone fired missiles at pre-dawn targetting the building which was badly damaged. Militants surrounded the compound and were using tractors to extricate the bodies and the debris, local residents said.

The channels reported that women and children were among the dead.

Reports said most of the people living in the compound targeted by the drone belonged to Afghanistan. Five houses were demolished in the attack.

The sound of the missiles hitting the ground targets was so loud that it shattered window panes in Miranshah, about two kilometres from the the site of the attack.

Danday Darpakhel is known to have hideouts belonging to the Haqqani network which is run by Afghan Taliban leader's son Sirajuddin Haqqani. The same village was hit last October, in a strike that left 11 militants, mostly foreigners, dead.

The US has hit the tribal area bordering Afghanistan with 40 missile strikes since last year reportedly killing some top Taliban and al Qaeda commanders.

The attack on Haqqani's hideouts comes close on the heels of an attack which killed the Pakistan Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud. The Tehrik-e-Taliban chief, whose slaying is disputed by his followers also has offices near the building which was targetted on Friday.

Shortly after the missile attacks, suspected Taliban militants in apparent retaliation opened fire on four military check posts near Miranshah, and in the heavy exchange of fire three militants were reported killed and three paramilitary personnel wounded.

US drones have carried out a wave of attacks in Pakistan's tribal belt since the middle of last year.

However, Pakistani authorities say dozens of civilians have also died in the strikes, undermining efforts to isolate the militants from the tribesmen in the area.

Pakistan has protested against the attacks, describing them as a violation of the country's sovereignty, and asked Washington to provide the drone technology to Islamabad.

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