Alleged US missiles kill four in Pakistan

Suspected US missiles targeted a vehicle today in northwestern Pakistan, killing four alleged militants, intelligence officials said. It was the 17th such attack this month — the most intense barrage since the airstrikes began in 2004.

Shortly before the attack, the vehicle left a militant hide-out in Datta Khel, a town in the North Waziristan tribal area that is controlled by insurgents focused on attacking NATO troops in Afghanistan, the two intelligence officials said.



It is not clear exactly why the attacks have spiked, but most of this month's strikes have targeted forces led by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a commander who was once supported by Pakistan and the US during the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.



Haqqani has since turned against the US, and American military officials have said his network — now effectively led by his son, Sirajuddin — presents one of the greatest threats to foreign forces in Afghanistan. Another militant commander, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, and his forces also hold sway in North Waziristan.



The intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk on the record to the media.



Washington wants Islamabad to launch an army offensive against insurgents in North Waziristan. Analysts believe Pakistan is resisting because it wants to maintain its historic relationship with the groups, which could be an ally in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw. Without a Pakistani offensive, the US has had to rely on CIA-operated drone strikes to target the Haqqani network, which also has bases in eastern Afghanistan.



The 17 missile strikes this month have killed nearly 85 people since Sept. 2, according to an Associated Press tally based on Pakistani intelligence reports. Most have struck in and around Datta Khel, which has a population of about 40,000 people and is on a strategically vital road to the Afghan border.



US officials do not publicly acknowledge the missile strikes but have said privately they have killed several senior Taliban and al-Qa'ida militants in the region that is largely out of the control of the Pakistani state.



Pakistan often criticizes the attacks as violations of the country's sovereignty, but the government is widely believed to help the US carry out the strikes. Criticism of the strikes has been more muted in recent months.



The latest strike occurred some hours after gunmen killed two worshippers in a central Pakistani city.



Police official Babar Bakhat Qureshi said seven others were wounded in the Sunni Muslim mosque in the city of Bahawalpur, a stronghold of a Pakistani militant group. The motive was not immediately clear, he added.



Pakistan has a history of sectarian violence often involving Sunni extremists targeting minority Shiite Muslims. But attacks on Sunni mosques also occur.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
Sport
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
News
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: European Sales Director - Aerospace Cable & Wire

£100000 - £125000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Project Manager

£17100 - £22900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an intermediate help de...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Turner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This long established manufactu...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral