Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Toll of US drone raid in Pakistan at 21

Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:4AM GMT

American Predator drone firing a Hellfire missile (file photo)
The death toll from a non-UN-sanctioned US drone strike in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt has climbed to 21.

Local media say more bodies have been pulled out of the rubbles of a house targeted near Miranshah, center of northwestern tribal area of North Waziristan Agency, a Press TV correspondent reported.

A US unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at the house early on Wednesday.

Local media reports indicate that the attack by American drones took place as residents of the house were having their pre-dawn meal before a day-long fasting in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Local people say all the slain people were local tribesmen.

The US often carries out such attacks on Pakistan's tribal regions, claiming to target anti-US militants.

But locals say civilians have been the main victims of the non-UN-sanctioned aerial strikes.

The issue of civilian casualties has strained relations between Islamabad and Washington with the Pakistani government repeatedly objecting to the bombing campaign.

The aerial attacks, initiated by former US president George W. Bush, have been escalated under President Barack Obama.

Islamabad has repeatedly condemned the attacks, saying they violate Pakistan's sovereignty.

The United Nations says the US-operated drone strikes in Pakistan pose a growing challenge to the international rule of law.

Philip Alston, UN special envoy on extrajudicial killings, said in a report in October of 2010 that the attacks were undermining the rules designed to protect the right to life.

According to a report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, some 957 Pakistani individuals fell victim to US drone strikes in 2010.



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