MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (AFP) — Six more bodies were recovered from the rubble of an Al-Qaeda den hit by a suspected US missile, pushing the death toll in two separate strikes to 21, security officials said Saturday.
“Six bodies of local tribesmen were found in the rubble of the house which was destroyed in a US missile strike on Friday just outside the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan district,” the official said.
On Friday officials said eight people including five foreigners — Pakistani officials use the term “foreigners” to describe Al-Qaeda militants — died in the missile strike at the house of a pro-Taliban tribesman near Mir Ali.
Hours later another suspected US drone fired two missiles into a house in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, killing seven people.
The strikes were the first under new US President Barack Obama and effectively dashed any hopes that Pakistani officials were nurturing that the new administration in Washington will halt such strikes.
Dozens of similar strikes since August have sparked government criticism of the United States, a close ally fighting the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan and believed to be firing the missiles from unmanned CIA aircraft.
Pakistan has repeatedly protested to Washington that drone strikes violate its territorial sovereignty and deepen resentment among the 160 million people of the nuclear-armed Islamic nation.
President Asif Ali Zardari and army chief General Ashfaq Kayani were quoted as telling top US General David Petraeus in Islamabad on Tuesday that they hoped the Obama administration would take their concerns into consideration.