Wednesday, July 13, 2011

US drone strikes kill 50 in Pakistan

Source: Press TV

A series of non-UN-sanctioned US drone attacks have killed at least 50 people and wounded many others in Pakistan's tribal belt near the border with Afghanistan.

Local officials say vehicles and buildings were targeted by US missiles during the attacks which took place early Tuesday and late Monday in South and North Waziristan.

The Tuesday attack targeted a house and a vehicle in the Dari Nashtar area of North Waziristan, killing 18 people, a Press TV correspondent reported. The number of missiles fired during the US attack is not yet clear.

Hours earlier, a US drone fired four missiles at Barmal area of tribal South Waziristan in northwestern Pakistan, killing seven people and injuring four others, according to a Press TV report.

The non-UN-sanctioned attacks come a day after another deadly US drone strike in the same region killed at least 25 people.

The attacks are considered to have inflicted one of the largest death tolls to date in the controversial air bombing campaign by the US in Pakistan.

The death toll is expected to rise as some of the injured are said to be in critical condition.

American drones have been conducting raids inside Pakistan's tribal belt on an almost daily basis. Hundreds of people have been killed in the air raids.

The US stepped up the attacks since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

The United Nations has condemned the strikes as a blatant violation of international laws.

Philip Alston, UN special envoy on extra judicial killings, said in a report in late October 2010 that the attacks undermine the rules designed to protect the right of life.

Alston also expressed his fears that the drone killings by the US Central Intelligence Agency would develop a "play station" mentality.

Washington claims its airstrikes are directed at militants, but local officials say most of those killed in the attacks are civilians.

Islamabad has repeatedly condemned the strikes as a violation of its sovereignty.

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