15 killed in US drone attacks in Pak tribal belt

Peshawar: US drones attacked a compound and a vehicle in Pakistan`s lawless tribal belt near Afghan border today, killing at least 15 Taliban militants in the first strikes of the new year.

In the first of three strikes today, the drones targeted a vehicle in Spin Wam area of North Waziristan tribal agency, officials said.

The unmanned spy planes fired four missiles at the vehicle, killing at least eight Taliban fighters and injuring several others, they said.

In the second strike, a Predator drone fired two missiles at a suspected militant hideout near Mir Ali town, killing three militants, the officials said.

The third strike targeted persons who were removing bodies and the injured from the site of the first attack in Spin Wam, they said. At least four militants were killed in this attack.

Independent sources said four foreign fighters were among the dead.

North Waziristan is considered a stronghold of top Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, whose men fight foreign troops across the border in Afghanistan from bases in the region.

There were a total of 113 drone attacks in Pakistan`s tribal belt last year, including 69 in North Waziristan.

The missile strikes had almost doubled last year and over 650 people were killed in the attacks.

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