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Sunday, January 25, 2015  

US drone strike kills 18 militants in Orakzai
PESHAWAR A US drone attack on Thursday killed 18 insurgents — mostly Afghans — at a militant compound in tribal region near the northwestern border with Afghanistan, officials said.

It was the second US missile strike reported in as many days in the northwest, considered a stronghold of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

“US drones fired four missiles on a militant compound and initial reports say 18 militants have died,” local administration official Khushal Khan said in Orakzai district.

He said most of the dead were Afghans. Six other people were wounded, he said.

A security official confirmed the attack and said the death toll may rise.

The compound was located in the Baland Khel area on the border between Orakzai and North Waziristan, a Pakistani intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.

Militants had sealed off the flattened building and were recovering bodies, he said. The building belonged to Maulvi Shakirullah, a commander in the forces of Pakistani warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur.

 “The attack was aimed at the compound of Maulana Shakirullah, who is the commander of the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group of the Tehriki Taliban Pakistan (TTP),” officials said.

The militant wing run by Shakirullah has been linked with the Haqqani network and Al Qaeda. The Hafiz Gul Bahadur group has been repeatedly accused by the US for being involved in cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

Dawn and Agencies
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