Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

'Twelve killed' in US drone strikes in Pakistan

US drone
Hundreds have been killed in drone attacks in the past year

At least 12 suspected Taliban militants were killed in two separate attacks by unmanned US drone aircraft in north-west Pakistan, security officials say.

In the latest raid, missiles hit houses in the North Waziristan region, reportedly killing 10 insurgents.

In an earlier attack, two people were said to have been killed when missiles targeted a local tribesman's house.

There have been numerous attacks by American unmanned aircraft in the region in recent months.

The areas of North and South Waziristan are a major sanctuary for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Hundreds of people, many of them civilians, have been killed in drone attacks in the past year. Top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was among them.

Pakistan has publicly criticised drone attacks, saying they fuel support for the militants.

The US military does not routinely confirm drone attacks, but analysts say the US armed forces and CIA in Afghanistan are the only forces capable of deploying drones in the region.

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