DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan — A volley of U.S. missiles killed 15
alleged militants in an extremist stronghold in northwestern Pakistan
on Friday, the second such strike in less than 12 hours, officials said.
Obama administration regards missile attacks from drone aircraft as a
key weapon against al-Qaida and the Taliban close to the Afghan border.
Last month, al-Qaida's reputed No. 3 official, Mustafa al-Yazid, was
reported killed in a similar strike in the North Waziristan region.
missiles were fired in Friday's attack on a house in a village close to
the border, two intelligence officers said. They were not authorized to
give their names.
Yousaf Khan, a government administrator in the region's main town of Miran Shah, said 15 alleged militants were killed.
He said officers were still gathering information about the identities of the victims.
Thursday, two people were killed in another strike in North Waziristan.
Officials did not say whether they were believed to be militants.
is under pressure to launch a military offensive in the region, but the
army says it is too stretched and committed to other parts of the
border region to do so anytime soon.
There have been more than 35
suspected missile strikes this year alone, the highest tempo since the
attacks began in earnest in 2008.
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The attacks have killed many
hundreds of people, most identified by Pakistani officials after the
strikes as suspected militants. There have also been many accounts of
civilian deaths. Washington does not acknowledge firing the missiles,
let alone say who they are killing.
Critics say the attacks may violate international law and amount to extrajudicial killings.
government publicly opposes the strikes to prevent domestic critics
from accusing it of conspiring with United States in killing its own
citizens. But it is widely believed to provide intelligence assistance
for at least some of the strikes.
The drones either take off from bases across the border in Afghanistan or reportedly from secret bases within Pakistan.
Also Friday, gunmen shot and wounded a retired army colonel in the Pakistani capital, police said.
The attackers struck as the former officer was in his car and preparing to leave his Islamabad home.
motive for the attack was not immediately clear, police spokesman Naeem
Iqbal said. However, targeted assaults on military brass have occurred
at least three other times in Islamabad over the past year, killing one
Associated Press Writer Asif Shahzad contributed to this report from Islamabad.