US drone strikes kill 51 in Pakistan

"All three attacks targeted hideouts of banned militant outfit Lashkar-i-Islam in Teerah valley of Khyber," Express TV reported.

"It is not known yet whether the chief of Lashkar-i-Islam Mangal Bagh has been taken out in the third attack Friday evening," it said. All three strikes took place within a span of 24 hours.

Mangal Bagh was a local thug in Khyber agency, 30 km from Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. He used to thrive on kidnapping for ransom and other crimes in the area.

His criminal activities grew as he developed close links with militant outfits like the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Swat and Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan.

It is the most fatal drone strike within a single day since the attacks were launched in 2004. More than 200 such attacks have killed over 1,800 suspected militants, including some high-profile targets, like former Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

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