Four missiles launched by a US drone has killed up to 17 people in north-west Pakistan, according to security sources, in the latest in a series of remote-controlled attacks which are straining relations between Washington and Islamabad.
The most recent drone operation targeted a hamlet in North Waziristan on Monday, a tribal area regarded as a hub for al-Qaida and Taliban fighters waging insurgencies on both sides of the porous Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
It was the third such strike in as many days – similar operations over the weekend claimed a dozen lives – and the eighth in two weeks.
On Sunday, 10 suspected militants were killed by missiles fired from a drone in Mana Raghzai village in South Waziristan. The victims had gathered to pray for a militant commander who had been killed by another drone strike on Saturday.
“There has been a great increase in US strikes,” said Muhammad Nawaz, a tribal elder in North Waziristan. “The people feel terrorised because we hear the drones in the sky most of the time. The militants are furious about the missile strikes.”