Suspected US drone strike kills seven ‘militants’ in North Waziristan

A suspected US drone strike killed several Taliban militants in North Waziristan close to the Afghanistan border, one militant commander and intelligence sources said on Thursday, in a rare strike on Pakistani soil.

If confirmed, the air strike, which happened on Wednesday, would only be the second drone attack inside the nation since US President Donald Trump took office in January.

Abdullah Wazirstani, spokesman for the North Waziristan Taliban, a group linked to the Tehreek-i-Taliban (TTP) Pakistan, said the strike killed three civilian ‘labourers’ and seven militants from the TTP.

Malik Waheedullah, a local tribal leader, told Reuters he saw two missiles strike a mountain home which caught fire. “I drove away as fast as I could,” he said.

Reuters quoted one Pakistani intelligence official and government source who said they believed the strike to be a US drone attack.

US officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

North Waziristan was a Taliban stronghold until 2014, when the Army launched a major offensive against the group and pushed many of its fighters across the border into Afghanistan.

Sources from the TTP identified one of the dead militants as Abdur Rahman, a senior commander of the group.

US drone attacks inside Pakistan have become rare over the past few years. In its last high-profile attack inside Pakistan, the United States last May killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

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