US drone strike kills 10 in NW Pakistan

  Xinhua, May 24, 2012

The death toll of the U.S. drone strike launched early Thursday morning in Pakistan's northwest tribal area of North Waziristan has risen to 10, reported local Urdu TV channel Dunya.

The target hit by the U.S. drones is a mosque instead of a house, said the report quoting local residents.

Two missiles were fired at the mosque when people were leaving after early morning prayers, it said, adding that many of the killed and injured were civilians.

The report also said that it was the first time that the U.S. drones targeted a mosque and the mosque was destroyed in the attack.

Rescue work was delayed due to fear of more strikes as five U.S. drones were seen hovering over the area following the strike, said the report.

Local state-run PTV also confirmed that a mosque was targeted by the U.S. drones, but it said that only nine people were killed in the strike.

The mosque targeted by the U.S. drones was located in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, a tribal area bordering Afghanistan, which is believed to be a stronghold of militants who often launch the cross-border attacks on the U.S.-led NATO troops in Afghanistan.

This is the second U.S. drone strike over the last two days.

Early on Wednesday morning, well before 3:00 a.m. local time, U. S. drones fired two missiles at a house suspected of being a militants' hideout in Miranshah, a main town of North Waziristan, leaving five people killed and several others injured.

Though most of the drone strike victims are believed to be militants, the U.S. drones do often mistakenly kill innocent people, causing a wide anti-U.S. sentiment among the local people.

Despite the repeated calls by the Pakistani government to halt the drone strikes in its territory, the U.S. side has never stopped such attacks in Pakistan's northwest tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Records kept by Xinhua reveal that up to date, at least 108 people have been killed in such strikes since the beginning of this year.