A US assassination drone strike has killed at least five people in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region near the border with Afghanistan, Pakistani security authorities said.
“The US drone fired two missiles targeting a militant compound, killing four rebels,” an unidentified Pakistani security official told AFP on Saturday.
The attack took place in the Warokey Mandi area of the Shawal district in North Waziristan, where the Pakistani military forces have been operating against Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants since last June.
The official further added that the identities of the victims in the drone attack were not yet known while another security authority in Pakistan confirmed the strike and the number of the casualties.
The attack was the eighth US assassination drone strike in Pakistan so far this year, leaving 37 to 49 people dead, according to figures by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks the American drone attacks using media reports. The group also states the number of such strikes in 2014 stood at 25.
Moreover, another report prepared by Pakistani lawmakers states that 2,199 people have been killed and 282 others injured in the US drone attacks in Pakistan over the past decade.
Additionally, nearly 210 houses and 60 vehicles were reportedly damaged by the strikes. However, rights activists say Islamabad has not revealed the actual number of the deaths, which many believe stand at more than 3,000 and possibly as many as 4,000.
This is while the Pakistani government has been widely censured for allowing the US military and its CIA spy agency to carry out the illegal drone strikes near the country’s border with Afghanistan as part of its targeted killing campaign in a number of Muslim countries, including Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia.
The aerial attacks, initiated by former US President George W. Bush in 2004, have been escalated under President Barack Obama, who has defended the use of the controversial drones as “self-defense.”
Washington claims the targets of the drone attacks are anti-US militants. People on the ground, however, dispute the claim, saying civilians are usually the victims of such attacks.
Moreover, The United Nations and several human rights organizations have identified the US as the world’s number-one user of “targeted killings,” largely due to its drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.