Monday, September 08, 2008

Suspected US raid in N Pakistan

Al Jazeera, Sep 8, 2008

Haqqani was the apparent target of the attack in Miranshah on Monday [GALLO/GETTY]

Suspected US drone aircrafts have killed at least three people in a Pakistani village near the Afghan border, witnesses and officials say.

A religious school founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a Taliban leader, was the apparent target of the attack on Monday in Miranshah, capital of North Waziristan.

Witnesses said two unmanned aircraft fired six missiles at the school and nearby houses.

Doctors reported thta more than 20 wounded - mostly women and children - were taken to Miranshah’s main hospital.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder said: “It is not the first time that the madrassa [school] was targeted. In the past, [Pakistani] special forces have gone into the madrassa looking for Haqqani.”

Sources have confirmed to Al Jazeera that Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin were not present during the attack, and were most likely in Afghanistan.

The attacked school was reported to be mostly empty. Security sources told Al Jazeera that only three foreigners had been inside, confirming they had been killed.

Haqqani is a well-known Afghan leader who served as defence minister during the US-led invasion in 2001. He is also a veteran of the Afghan war against the Soviet invasion in the 1970s and 1980s.

US-led raids

Monday’s raid is the fourth suspected cross-border strike in the rugged tribal region by the US in almost a week.

US commandos carried out a brief ground assault in the neighbouring South Waziristan region on Wednesday in what was the first known incursion into Pakistan by US troops since 2001.

Pakistani officials said 20 people, including women and children, had been killed in the attack, which drew a furious response from the government.

A day later, four suspected Taliban fighers were killed and five wounded in a missile attack in North Waziristan, believed to have been launched by a US drone aircraft.

Intelligence officials and witnesses said five people had been killed in another suspected drone attack on Friday but the Pakistan military has denied it.

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