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Drone strike in Pakistan kills six militants

world Updated: Jan 13, 2012 08:42 IST

Reuters
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A second drone strike in two days killed six militants in North Waziristan in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border on Thursday, intelligence officials said, further marking the resumption of the US campaign paused for almost two months.

The suspected US drone fired two missiles at two cars in the Dogga area of North Waziristan tribal region, killing six.

"The missiles hit two cars that were heading towards the border. Several foreigners were in the cars, but we have no information on their nationalities yet," an intelligence source told Reuters. The source said there might be more casualties.

The strike comes two days after a similar attack killed four militants in North Waziristan, marking the resumption of the unacknowledged US drone campaign, paused after a Nov 26 Nato cross-border attack killed 24 Pakistani troops. The last drone strike before Tuesday's was on Nov 17.

Such attacks have been used increasingly in recent years in the fight against insurgents in Pakistan's largely lawless Pashtun tribal areas in the west and northwest who fuel violence across the border in Afghanistan.

Drones armed with missiles have played a significant role in US counter-terrorism operations as the Obama administration winds down the war in Afghanistan and Washington's focus expands to militant havens in countries including Pakistan.

The Obama administration contends that drone strikes have helped weaken the central leadership of al Qaeda and put associated militant groups on the defensive. Others say the lull since mid-November allowed militants to regroup.

US officials denied the drop-off in attacks was part of a deliberate moratorium on such flights linked to the political and diplomatic uproar over the November air strike.

Officials maintained that strikes were based on the availability of targeting intelligence and suggested that such intelligence had been in short supply recently.