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Suspected U.S. missile strikes kill 15 in Pakistan
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — Three American missile attacks killed 15 suspected militants on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border on Wednesday, Pakistani officials said, the latest in an uptick in such strikes that coincides with a chill in ties between Washington and Islamabad.
The first pair of drone-fired missiles hit a vehicle and a compound near Wana, the main town in South Waziristan tribal area, killing 10 people, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The victims were believed to be allied with Maulvi Nazir, a prominent militant commander in the area, according to the officials.
South Waziristan was the main sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban until the army launched a large ground offensive in 2009. Militants continue to inhabit the area and often carry out attacks against Pakistani soldiers.
Later, four missiles hit a vehicle in North Waziristan, considered a major militant sanctuary, killing five, the officials said.
The United States does not publicly discuss drone strikes in Pakistan, but officials have said privately that they have killed several senior al Qaeda and Taliban commanders. More than 200 attacks have taken place since 2009.
The frequency of attacks dropped earlier in the year but since have resumed their normal pace.
The uptick follows the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2. That operation angered the Pakistani army and Parliament, which demanded an end to the strikes. Pakistan’s army has been known to cooperate with some of the attacks in the past, but it is unclear whether it still does so.
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