Suspected US drone kills seven militants in North Waziristan

A suspected US drone strike on a house in a remote tribal area bordering Afghanistan has killed at least seven militants, Pakistan security officials said Thursday.

If confirmed the attack would be the second drone raid under the administration of United States President Donald Trump.

The suspected strike happened on Wednesday in the Lawara Mandi area of North Waziristan, one of seven tribal districts stretching along the border with Afghanistan, where Pakistan has been battling insurgency for more than a decade and a half.

“We have received reports of a drone attack in North Waziristan in which some seven militants have been killed,” a security official told AFP.

Local intelligence officials said drones were seen in the area before two missiles hit a house in Lawara Mandi area, believed to be used by the umbrella Taliban militant group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

“There are two militant commanders, Abdul Rehman and Akhtar Mohammad among the dead,” an intelligence official told AFP requesting anonymity.

Officials said the missiles could have been fired by US drones, but declined to confirm the origin of the strike.

The previous US strike under the Trump government killed two men riding a motorbike in northwestern Kurram in March.

The first of the more than 420 drone attacks in Pakistan occurred in 2004 under the government of President George W. Bush, but it was under President Barack Obama that their use increased substantially, before tapering off in his second term.

Last year there were only three, including the May 2016 drone strike that killed the then leader of the Afghan Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Balochistan province.

In 2013, Amnesty International said the US could be guilty of war crimes by carrying out extrajudicial killings.