Officials and tribal witnesses in Pakistan say a suspected U.S missile
strike has killed at least five militants, including several foreigners
in a remote region near the Afghan border. A fugitive British militant
linked to a 2006 terror plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airlines and an
Egyptian al-Qaida operative are said to be among those killed in the
attack. Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
The early morning
missile strike by a suspected unmanned U.S. aircraft destroyed a house
in the North Waziristan tribal region, which Taliban and al-Qaida
militants are using to stage attacks on foreign forces in Afghanistan.
al-Qaida-linked British militant, Rashid Rauf, is said to be among
those killed in Saturday's attack. Western intelligence officials
believe the man played a key role in a 2006 terror plot meant to blow
up trans-Atlantic passenger flights.
Media reports say that an
Egyptian al-Qaida operative identified as Abu Zubair al-Misri was also
killed in the suspected U.S. missile strike on their hideout in the
remote village of Alikhel.
Unmanned U.S planes are believed to
have carried out more than 20 missile attacks since August targeting
militant bases on the Pakistani side of the border.
like former Pakistan Interior Secretary Tasneem Noorani, say that so
far neither Pakistani nor American officials have presented any proof
of killing high-profile militants in these attacks. He says that such
actions mostly depend on human intelligence network on the ground that
might be guiding these strikes.
"Those people inform them of
the location of these high-value targets, and they strike. But whether
actually they have found the actual target I think it is difficult to
really confirm whatever the claim is," he said.
Rauf was arrested and was under trial in an anti-terror court in
Pakistan but late last year he escaped from the custody of Pakistani
police after appearing in a hearing in Islamabad.
The British government had sought his extradition to London, where he was wanted in connection with the murder of his uncle.
officials neither confirm nor deny these missile attacks. But Pakistani
leaders complain such actions undermine their nation's sovereignty and
collateral damage in these attacks is feeding Islamic extremism in
Addressing Indian media and business community by
teleconference from Islamabad on Saturday, President Asif Ali Zardari
voiced hope that after taking office President-elect Barack Obama will
review and halt attacks inside Pakistan.
"In fact I am looking
forward to interacting with him and asking him and sitting on the map
and to revisit the whole situation in the region and hopefully to find
a solution to all the problems that we have, not just terrorism," he
Early this week, Taliban militants based in the North
Waziristan region of Pakistan threatened they will launch revenge
suicide missions and attack foreigners as well a government targets
across the country unless U.S. raids are stopped.
on Saturday, suspected Taliban militants attacked a security post in
the district of Bannu with rockets and gunfire killing three security