MIRAMSHAH / WANA, Jan 23: Missiles fired by suspected US drones killed at least 14 people, including some Arabs, in the tribal areas of North and South Waziristan on Friday.

(AP news agency quoted security officials as saying that 18 people had been killed and at least five foreign militants were among them).

The attacks came three days after US President Barack Obama took office and a day after he had appointed a veteran diplomat as his special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to local people, three missiles hit a guesthouse of Khalil Khan Dawar in Zeraki village in North Waziristan, killing him and eight others on the spot. The compound was completely destroyed.

Khalil Dawar was reported to be associated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan of Baitullah Mehsud.

A security official told Dawn that four Arab militants and another four from Punjab were among the dead.

Soon after the attack at around 5.10pm, Taliban militants surrounded the area and stopped locals from coming near the destroyed compound. They retrieved the bodies of their comrades from the rubble and took them to an unspecified place.Villagers claimed that at least nine bodies had been pulled out of the rubble.

They reported hearing the sound of drones before the explosion.

In the other attack, two missiles fired by a Predator hit the house of pro-government tribal elder Malik Deen Faraz in Gangikhel area of South Waziristan, killing him, his three sons and a grandson.

According to local people, the missiles were fired at about 8.45pm and a large portion of the house was destroyed.

Soon after the attack, electricity went off and the area plunged into darkness. Drones continued to hover over the area preventing local people from carrying out rescue work.

At least six people, some foreigners among them, were killed in two drone attacks in South Waziristan on Jan 1 and 3.

Dozens of such attacks by unmanned US planes have taken place in tribal areas since August last year.

About 16 people have been killed by the Taliban on charges of being US spies in North Waziristan since the start of the year.



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