Senior U.S. and Pakistani officials tell NBC News that Wednesday’s Predator attack on a village in northwest Pakistan was not insignificant, that a “high-value target … an Arab” was among those killed. U.S. officials believe the unnamed target was planning attacks outside Pakistan, “so we nailed him,” in the words of one.
By all accounts, on Wednesday evening, two male guesthouses in the village of Damodola were struck by Hellfire missiles fired from Predator drones. The drones are normally operated by the CIA. Inside the guesthouses were local fighters along with several “foreigners,” including the Arab fighter, according to the U.S. officials and locals.
Although the number of missiles fired remains uncertain, recent attacks have involved multiple volleys from multiple Predators. Predators now carry up to six Hellfires.
Initial reports had the dead at 12, but now they are as high as 30.
UPDATE: In other news of note, this will be a first if true, Manned Nato aircraft striking the Pakistan side of the Durand line per Pakistan Tribune:
Our Wana correspondent adds: Jet fighters flying from across the Pak-Afghan border violated Pakistan’s airspace in South Waziristan Agency Wednesday and dropped bombs in the area near the Durand Line.
Tribal sources said the jet fighters from the US-led Nato forces operating in Afghanistan intruded into Pakistan’s territory at Sra Khawra area near the border town of Angoor Adda and flew about three kilometres deep into South Waziristan Agency.
The planes reportedly dropped some bombs inside Pakistani territory but there were no details of losses. The same jet fighters also bombed targets on the Afghan side of the border. The government officials could not be reached to confirm the violation of Pakistan’s airspace by foreign planes.
Worthy of note however is how the Durand Line has been stretched in a few areas into Afghanistan the past few years. The craft could have been bombing the internationally recognized line, rather than the Wazir view of where the line is.
A bit more from The News (jang) where some of the casualties are named:
“All the bodies were split into pieces and scattered in the building,” he spoke to this correspondent by telephone after visiting the destroyed house. Tribal sources told The News that close friends of the Arab fighter were invited to the function and that was the reason that death toll was high as the guests were spending the night in the hujra when blitzed by Drones.
Maulvi Omar, militants’ spokesman belonging to Bajaur’s troubled Mohmand subdivision, called this correspondent and said 11 people were killed in the air strike. Among the dead, he said, five militants belonged to Bajaur.
Five others, he said, hailed from neighbouring Mohmand Agency, including Shah Wali, brother of militants’ central commander Abdul Wali code-named Omar Khalid while another Shahid belonged to Shabqadar in Charsadda district.
He said thousands of tribe people came from all parts of the agency and attended funeral prayers of victims of the air strikes. Maulvi Omar said no women or children were killed or injured in the attack.
Also note here that TTP Taliban Leader Nawab Khan was killed by his friends in Parachinar, the location of a lot of sectarian fighting the past few years.