KHAR, May 15: There was no evidence that any high-ranking foreign militant was killed in a missile attack on a house in Damadola on Wednesday, sources said on Thursday.
They said that the funeral of eight of about 18 people killed in the attack was held on Wednesday and all of them were local people.
They said that among the deceased three were from the adjoining Mohmand tribal region, including the brother of a militant commander and chief of the Qandahari group, Abdul Wali Raghib. His funeral was held in Mohmand on Thursday.
A militant spokesman confirmed the death of Raghib’s brother and denied that any foreign militant was in the house at the time of the attack.
The other victims were said to be from the Mehsud tribe of South Waziristan and Punjab and some foreign militants, the sources added.
Officials said that nine people had been injured in the attack.
However, militants’ spokesman Maulavi Mohammad Omer said seven people had been injured. No injured was brought to the regional hospital in Khar.
Residents claimed that the death toll was higher although only eight bodies had been shown to the public. But they were unable to say how many people had been killed.
The sources said militants had cordoned off the area after the attack and removed the bodies before allowing public access to the area on Thursday morning.
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella organisation representing militant groups in Pakistan, claimed that only eight people had been killed and all were locals with two children among them.
According to residents, the missile hit a room of the house and completely destroyed it.
This was the third strike on Damadola. The earlier two strikes were carried out in January and October, 2006.
Addressing the people assembled at the funeral, militant commander Faqir Mohammad said that strikes would not derail the peace process between the government and militants.
He said: “The missile strike was aimed at subverting the peace process between the government and the Pakistani Taliban but we will not allow this conspiracy to succeed.”
He said that negotiations between the two sides had been continuing for three months and there had been considerable headway, including the recent exchange of prisoners in South Waziristan.
“We want peace and do not want further bloodshed in Pakistan. We are defenders of the frontiers of Pakistan and our basic aim is to defend its sovereignty”, Faqir Muhammad said.
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