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12 killed in US drone strikes in Pakistan

world Updated: Mar 11, 2010 09:43 IST
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Two suspected US drone attacks on Wednesday in Pakistan's restive tribal region near the Afghan border killed at least 12 people, intelligence officials said.

The airstrikes took place in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, a known sanctuary of Taliban and Al Qaeda militants.

"A drone fired five missiles on a vehicle apparently carrying some miscreants," said a local intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Six people died in the attack".

The second drone fired two more missiles on a crowd of villagers carrying out relief work, killing six people and injuring several others.

"The total death toll now stands at 12 but it may rise as some injured are said to be in critical condition," said the official.

A second intelligence official confirmed the incident and put the death toll at 14. He said the identity of those killed was not known yet.

The attack occurred in an area that is controlled by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a Taliban commander who has signed a peace deal with the Pakistani government.

Dozens of Al Qaeda operatives and some major Taliban leaders have died in the US aerial strikes, although a large number of civilians also perished.

Pakistan, a key US ally in fight against terrorism, has repeatedly protested the airstrikes, saying they violate the country's sovereignty.

But analysts believe Pakistani spy agencies covertly share intelligence with CIA about the possible targets.