DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – Suspected U.S. missiles slammed into two villages Friday, killing 27 people including foreign fighters in the latest strikes inside Pakistan, intelligence officials said.
One of the raids targeted an Arab militant identified as Abu Kasha Iraqi, but it was unclear if he was killed, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Suspected U.S. unmanned planes have fired at alleged militant targets in Pakistan at least 17 times since mid-August, putting pressure on extremists accused of planning attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan — and perhaps terror strikes in the West.
But the marked uptick in their frequency is straining America's seven-year alliance with Pakistan, where rising violence is exacerbating economic problems gnawing at the nuclear-armed country's stability.
Scores of foreign Al Qaeda members are believed to be hiding out in the lawless border area, which is considered a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden.
The United States rarely confirms or denies firing the missiles and the identities of those killed are also rarely made public. Locals frequently say civilians, sometimes women and children, are among the dead.
The first attack place in Mir Ali village in North Waziristan after drones had been flying overhead for several hours, the intelligence officials said.
The drones fired twice, hitting the house frequented by the Arab fighter and a nearby car, killing 20 people, the officials said, citing reports from agents and informers in the field.
Around two hour later, a second set of missiles hit a village in South Waziristan, killing seven people, including an unspecified number of foreign fighters, the officials said.