16 die in US missile strike

MIRANSHAH - Missiles fired by US drones killed 16 people, including Pakistani and Afghan Taliban fighters, yesterday in a strike targeting a religious school founded by an old friend of Osama bin Laden, intelligence officials and Pakistani villagers said.

MIRANSHAH - Missiles fired by US drones killed 16 people, including Pakistani and Afghan Taliban fighters, yesterday in a strike targeting a religious school founded by an old friend of Osama bin Laden, intelligence officials and Pakistani villagers said.

"There were two drones and they fired three missiles," said a resident of Dandi Darpakheil, a village in the North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border.

A military official said a house and Madrasa founded by Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani were the targets.

Haqqani is a veteran commander of the US-backed Afghan war against the Soviet invasion in the 1970s and 1980s, and his links with Bin Laden go back to the late 1980s. He is said to be in ill-health and his son, Sirajuddin, has been leading the Haqqani group.

The missile strike killed 16 people, most of them Pakistani and Afghan Taliban fighters, though four women and two children were also killed, according to a senior intelligence officer.

"They belonged to the Sirajuddin Haqqani group," said the officer, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"No foreign militant was killed," he said. - Reuters

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