US air raid kills five in Pakistan

By DPA | Monday, March 16, 2009 | 4:32:51 AM IST (+05:30 GMT) Comment 0 Comment

Islamabad, March 16 (DPA)A US missile strike in Pakistan's troubled northwestern region near Afghanistan killed at least five militants late Sunday, a security official said.

Islamabad, March 16 (DPA)A US missile strike in Pakistan's troubled northwestern region near Afghanistan killed at least five militants late Sunday, a security official said.

The attack took place in Janikhel village just outside the North Waziristan tribal district, a known hotbed of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Two Hellfire missiles fired by a US Predator drone destroyed the house of a local tribesman identified as Haji Awais, said an intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not supposed to talk to media.

He said at least two of the militants killed in the raid were foreigners, a term locally used to describe Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters of Arab or Central Asian origin.

Janikhel is believed to be an Al Qaeda sanctuary, where the terrorist organization's deputy chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was reportedly cornered by Pakistani security forces during a clash with militants in 2005.

US forces, which are running out of patience over Pakistan's failure to eliminate militant hideouts, have carried out about 36 air raids in the past four months, killing dozens of suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

Pakistan, a key US ally in the international fight against terrorism, has repeatedly protested the strikes, saying they violate the country's sovereignty and fuel public anger.

Sunday's attack came three days after a similar airstrike in Kurram, one of Pakistan's seven tribal districts, killed 24 people, many of them Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked fighters, and wounded dozens more.

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