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Saturday, May 7, 2011
Seventeen people killed by drone strikes in Pakistan
Multiple missile strikes from US Predator drones hit the North Waziristan Agency on May 6th, killing at least 17 “suspects” and wounding an unknown number of others. The strikes destroyed a housing compound as well as a vehicle in Datta Khel. In a strike earleir this year, on March 17th, 44 people were killed in the same area.
The attacks targeted a region that is believed to have large numbers of militant factions, and was the first one to hit Pakistan since the Sunday raid into Abbottabad. The strikes have been hugely unpopular across Pakistan.
Increasingly the Pakistani military has been condemning the strikes, and several of the recent strikes killed large numbers of civilians and tribesmen allied with the government. This has added to anger about the attacks, which were already under renewed scrutiny after the Raymond Davis affair.
Today’s strike suggests that those demands to end the attacks have not been heeded, and the Zardari government, already embarrassed by the suggestion that Sunday’s bin Laden raid will become a precedent for a more aggressive collection of US ground attacks, will likely have to react, or face more loss of legitimacy.