Reports: U.S. Strike in Pakistan Kills 50 Taliban Militants at Funeral Procession
At least 50 people have been killed and scores others injured after U.S. drones fired several missiles on what Washington calls insurgents’ targets in the troubled northwest Pakistan, accroding to PressTV, a news network funded by the Iranian government that broadcasts in English.
Western media, including the BBC, have identified the dead as Taliban militants.
The causalities occurred when three drones fired missiles on Tuesday afternoon at the funeral procession in the South Waziristan bordering Afghanistan, according to the Iranian report. The missiles hit the funeral of people who were killed earlier in the day during a similar strike in the volatile region, the report said.
At least eight people were killed and a dozen other injured in the first U.S. strike by an unmanned drone aircraft hit near Makeen village, 60 kilometres (37 miles) northeast of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, the report said.
The Khaleej Times, an English language daily newspaper published from Dubai, United Arab Emirates,
has this report:
The attacks came hours after a militant leader who had defected from Pakistani Taliban head Baitullah Mehsud was assassinated by an “infiltrator” in the adjoining district of North Western Frontier Province.
A pilotless aircraft on Tuesday morning fired three missiles to target a hideout used regularly by Mehsud’s fighter in South Waziristan, a security official said on condition of anonymity.
“The missiles hit a Taliban markaz (centre) in the Makeen (area), killing at least seven Taliban,” the official said. Four more militants were injured and two vehicles were destroyed by the strike.
Later, as Taliban members were attending the funeral of their dead comrades, another suspected US drone fired four guided missiles at them.
“Our local sources are saying that 45 people have died and more than 60 are injured,” said the official.
“Almost all of those killed and injured are Taliban and a senior commander of Mehsud’s, Sangeen Khan is confirmed dead, while there are reports that Mehsud’s deputy, Qari Hussain, might also have died.
It seems that Taliban have suffered huge losses, its a major setback for them, he added.
Another intelligence official put the death toll at 50 and claimed that Taliban chief Mehsud himself was attending the funeral. “We are trying to confirm whether he died in the strike or managed to survive it.”
The first drone strike came around two and half hours after Taliban commander, Qari Zainuddin, who had defected Mehsud was shot dead in his compound in the town of Dera Ismail Khan, located adjacent to South Waziristan.