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US drone kills 12 in Pak

A pilotless US drone aircraft fired a missile in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, killing 12 people, a security official and residents said.

world Updated: Apr 02, 2009 01:19 IST

A pilotless US drone aircraft fired a missile in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, killing 12 people, a security official and residents said.

The strike was the first drone attack in the Orakzai ethnic Pashtun tribal region, which is near but not on the Afghan border, southwest of the city of Peshawar.

The raid came a day after the leader of Pakistan Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, said his group had carried out an assault on a police training centre in the eastern city of Lahore in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks.

Residents of Khadizai village said the missile hit a Taliban headquarters and 12 people were killed.

A security official, who declined to be identified, confirmed the death toll and added that 13 people had been wounded.

A Pakistani Taliban official said the missile had hit a “camp for guests”. “We have sent our people down there but we don't know about the casualties,” the Taliban official, who declined to be identified, said by telephone.

Orakzai had been one of the most peaceful Pashtun regions in northwest Pakistan.

The US, frustrated by an intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan getting support from the Pakistani side of the border, began launching more drone attacks last year.