12 die in fresh U.S. drone strikes in NW Pakistan (UPDATE)
U.S. drone aircraft continued strikes in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region for a second consecutive day on Wednesday and killed 12 people, locals and reports said, Xinhua reported.
Tribesmen said that 10 to 12 aircraft struck houses in Dargah Mandi and Dande Darpakhel areas early morning.
It is the third U.S. strike in North Waziristan in 24 hours, taking the death toll to 27.
On Tuesday, drones struck hideouts and vehicles of suspected militants and killed 15 people.
Tribesmen said that drones fired 12 missiles early Wednesday on the houses, thought to be hideouts of the suspected militants.
Five people were also injured who were shifted to a local hospital in Miranshah, the center of North Waziristan.
Several houses were razed to the ground and the people pulled the injured out of the rubbles, local TV channels reported.
Tribesmen said pilotless aircraft were flying over Miranshah and other areas since early morning.
There was no immediate information about the identity of those killed but security officials were quoted as saying that all victims belonged to the Hafiz Gul Bahadar group of Taliban.
North Waziristan is the stronghold of Bahadar group, who has a peace deal with the government but its fighters carry out attacks on NATO forces across the border into Afghanistan. Taliban from Pakistani Punjab province are also active in the area.
Haqqani network, led by Siraj-ud-Din Haqqani, the son of former Taliban commander Jalal-ud-din Haqqani also has strong presence in North Waziristan.
Americans believe that Arab militants and their local facilitators are planning attacks across the border into Afghanistan against the NATO forces.
Since a suicide attack killed seven CIA employees in Afghanistan in December, covert U.S. drone attacks have tremendously increased in the volatile Waziristan tribal region.