9 Suspected Insurgents Killed In Missile Strike, Pakistanis Say

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
New York Times
August 14, 2008
Pg. 7

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — A missile strike in a Pakistani tribal region killed at least nine suspected insurgents, including foreigners, Pakistani officials said Wednesday, raising suspicions that the United States was again seeking out militants in Pakistan.
A spokesman for the American military denied that it was behind the four missiles, which reportedly struck late Tuesday, destroying a compound in a mountainous area near Angore Adda in South Waziristan. However, past strikes are believed to have been conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency using Predator drones.
The tribal regions are considered havens for militants linked to Al Qaeda and the Taliban who plot and stage attacks on United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and the United States has repeatedly urged Pakistan to bring those areas under control. The missile strikes, however, have strained ties between the United States and Pakistan.
A Pakistani military official said at least nine people died in the latest strike. Two Pakistan intelligence service officials said 22 to 25 people — including Arabs, Turkmens and Pakistani militants — died in the strike, which was apparently launched from Afghanistan.
They said the camp was linked to the group of the Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose followers are fighting in Afghanistan. They said it was not clear if the camp leader, an Afghan identified as Cmdr. Zangeer, or other senior militants had been killed.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammed Sadiq, said he had no official information on the strike. In the past, Pakistan has decried the missile strikes as violations of its sovereignty.
An American military spokesman in Afghanistan, First Lt. Nathan Perry, said, “I’ve got no reports of any border incidents, any cross-border incidents, so it wasn’t us.”
Pakistan’s army spokesman was not available for comment. The other Pakistani officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the news media.
Suspected American missile strikes have killed at least two senior Qaeda militants inside Pakistan this year, including an Egyptian explosives and poison expert, Abu Khabab al-Masri, who died in a strike in South Waziristan in July.
Separately on Wednesday, Pakistani forces backed by helicopter gunships pounded militant positions in the Bajur tribal region in an operation that has displaced thousands of people.
At least 25 suspected militants were killed on Wednesday and another 30 were wounded in airstrikes in several villages in the region, military officials said.
There has been no way to independently confirm the death toll.
Early Wednesday, gunmen attacked the headquarters of a banned militant group in the Khyber tribal region and shot its leader dead, his spokesman said.
The leader, Hajji Namdar, died of his wounds after he was taken to a hospital from the shooting in Barqambarkhel, about seven miles from the region’s main town of Bara, said the spokesman, Munsaf Khan.
His Vice and Virtue Movement was among three groups banned in June when security forces started an operation to curb militancy and lawlessness in Khyber, amid concern that the main northwestern city of Peshawar could be under threat.