Report: US increasing use of spy drones in hunt for bin Laden

The United States is intensifying its use of unmanned Predator drones in the hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the mountains of western Pakistan, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing US and Pakistani officials, reported dpa.

The strategic shift reflected the US failure to develop meaningful human intelligence in the remote region despite placing a 25-million-dollar reward for information that leads to the death or capture of the terrorist network's leader, the newspaper reported.

The United States has tripled the number of Hellfire missile attacks by Predators in Pakistan this year with 11 strikes reported, compared with three in 2007.

The attacks are part of a renewed effort to cripple al-Qaeda's central command that began early last year and has picked up speed as President George W Bush's term in office winds down, the US and Pakistani officials told the Post.

The tactics have prompted a rise in the number of civilian casualties but have also killed two senior al-Qaeda leaders with 5-million-dollar bounties on their heads, the report said.

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