PESHAWAR, Pakistan — At least 10 more people, all suspected to be foreign militants, were killed in a second drone strike early Thursday in Pakistan's troubled North Waziristan tribal region.
The attack came in the same village, Tabi Tolkhel, only a few hours after six suspected militants were killed in what government officials called the first U.S. drone strike in the region since Christmas Day.
Pakistani officials and residents in Miranshah, the administrative headquarters of North Waziristan, said the drone again hit a mini-truck and a nearby mud-built house, this time killing 10 suspected militants.
Residents also said the second attack, which took place before dawn, hit a house where a large quantity of explosives was reportedly dumped.
"I never heard such a huge and deafening blast," said Javed Khan of Miranshah. "It jolted the entire tribal region, and everybody thought [the] house was targeted."
Two government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told NBC News the militants were shifting an explosives-laden mini-truck when it came under the drone strike.
They said those killed belonged to the Haqqani network — a militant faction of the Afghan Taliban that claimed responsibility for having kidnapped U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in June 2009 and exchanged him for five high-profile Taliban commanders last week.
The U.S. curtailed its controversial drone strikes in Pakistan after the government started peace negotiations with the local Taliban in January.
But with the talks apparently failing amid this week's deadly Taliban attack on the Karachi airport, the Pakistani government is said to be preparing a new military operation — leading many residents to flee their homes and villages in North Waziristan for safer places in more densely populated cities.