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First US drone strike in Pakistan this year kills 4: officials

Pakistani security personnel are pictured at a checkpoint in Ghawar Kaly Sakhakot in the northwestern town of Dargai, in the Malakand region neighbouring Swat on June 11, 2014, following a militant attack. AAFP PHOTO/Walayat KHAN

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: The first US drone strike in Pakistan this year Wednesday killed at least four militants in a northwest tribal district where pressure was building on Islamabad to launch a full-scale military operation, officials said.

The missiles hit a vehicle and a compound in Dargah Mandi village in North Waziristan, around 10 kilometres (six miles) west of the main town of Miranshah in an area considered a stronghold for the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network.

"A US drone fired two missiles which hit a vehicle and the compound, at least four militants have been killed," a senior security official told AFP.

Another security official confirmed the attack and death toll and told AFP that initial information suggested that all those killed were Uzbek militants.

The strike came as Pakistani Taliban confirmed that Uzbek militants had been deployed in a siege of the country's busiest airport that began Sunday night and ended late Monday morning, killing 37 people including the 10 attackers.

More than 2,000 people have been killed in drone attacks since August 2008 according to an AFP tally, with critics charging that the strikes cause many civilian casualties.

The last drone attack on Pakistani soil occurred on December 25, 2013, killing three suspected militants. According to media reports the strikes had been temporarily halted at the Pakistani government's request.

 

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