October 22, 2008 / 9:47 PM / 10 years ago

Suspected U.S. drone fires missile into Pakistan area

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suspected U.S. drone fired a missile into a Pakistani village in North Waziristan tribal region early on Thursday, a Reuters witness said, the latest in a series of such attacks in recent weeks.

The strike targeted a village near Waziristan’s main town of Miranshah where Jalaluddin Haqqani, a veteran Taliban commander and an old friend of Osama bin Laden, had established a madrasa or religious school and where his extended family used to be living. There was no immediate word on casualties.

“A large number of militants are rushing toward the area in vehicles,” the Reuters witness told Reuters by telephone from Miranshah.

Twenty-three people, mostly relatives of Haqqani, were killed in a similar attack in the same area in September.

The U.S. forces, frustrated over growing cross-border militant attacks from the Pakistani side, have carried out around a dozen missile strikes and a commando raid in Pakistani tribal areas since the start of September.

A large number of militants have been killed in these attacks but no senior al Qaeda or Taliban commander is reported to have died so far.

One of the sons of Haqqani had told Reuters that the elderly commander was in Afghanistan when the village was hit in September.

Haqqani is a veteran of the U.S.-backed Afghan war against the Soviet invasion in the 1970s and 1980s and his extended family had been living in North Waziristan since then. Haqqani’s links with bin Laden go back to the late 1980s.

Taliban sources say he is in ill-health and his son, Sirajuddin, has been leading the Haqqani group.

Reporting by Haji Mujtaba; Writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Sami Aboudi

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