PESHAWAR, Pakistan – A U.S drone fired two missiles on a suspected hideout on Sunday evening, killing eight militants in the mountainous Shawal Valley of North Waziristan, a tribal region in northwest Pakistan.
Tribal sources said the drone fired missiles at a three-room structure where suspected militants were having an Iftar dinner, breaking their fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"The militants, including Arab fighters, were having an Iftar dinner in the compound when the drone fired two missiles. Later, an hour after the drone had disappeared, a group of militants arrived and started pulling out bodies," local tribesman Yasin Khan said.
Khan said that eight bodies, mutilated beyond recognition, were recovered from the wreckage of the building razed by the explosions.
The tribesman said local tribal militants later told him that four among the slain militants were Arab fighters.
Pakistani security officials also confirmed the drone strike and said it took place in the remote forest-covered Shawal Valley near the Afghan border, where the militants usually set up sanctuaries during the summer.
"Weather in Shawal remains very pleasant during summer and that's why most of the militant groups, particularly foreigners, shift their camps to this remote region," a security official said in Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan region.
Requesting anonymity, the security official said they had intercepted conversations from the militants, in which they confirmed the killing of eight fighters in the strike, including four Arabs.
There was no immediate information about the identity of the slain militants.
There has been a significant decline in U.S drone strikes in Pakistan's militancy-plagued tribal areas along the Afghan border during the past few months, apparently due to strong protest from the new Pakistani government.
Besides foreign militants, top Pakistani militant commanders including Commander Nek Mohammad, Baitullah Mahsud, Qari Hussain, Maulvi Nazeer, Ilyas Kashmiri and Maulana Waliur Rahman have been killed in drone strikes.
First published July 28 2013, 11:20 AM