18th American drone strike in Pakistan tribal belt this year

A drone suspected of being American killed at least four militants early Saturday in an attack on a compound in the North Waziristan tribal district, near the border with Afghanistan, a Pakistani security official and local residents said.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/world/asia/drone-strike-kills-suspected-militants-in-pakistan.html?hp&_r=0  The drone fired missiles at a building and a nearby parked vehicle in a village close to Mir Ali, a notorious hub for militants from the Taliban and Al Qaeda in North Waziristan, where the majority of C.I.A. drone strikes have taken place.   It was the 18th American drone strike in the tribal belt this year, according to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which collates data about the attacks. The strikes have drawn fierce criticism from Pakistani officials, with the country’s new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, demanding that the United States end such attacks.

The last strike occurred on July 28, when a missile struck a group of militants near the Afghan border. As is typical, details of that strike were blurry. Between five and eight people were killed then, according to reports, some of which said the fighters had gathered for an evening meal while others said they had just crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan.

There have been over 370 American drone strikes in Pakistan since the covert C.I.A.-directed campaign started in 2004.

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