April 19, 2009 / 5:43 AM / 9 years ago

U.S. drone hits militant camp in Pakistan

WANA, Pakistan (Reuters) - A missile fired on Sunday by a pilotless U.S. drone struck a militant camp in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region on the Afghan border but there were no reports of casualties, security officials said.

The drone strike came a day after a suicide-car bomber killed 27 soldiers and two passers-by in an attack on a military convoy in the northwest. Pakistani Taliban said the bombing was a reaction to U.S. drone attacks.

“It was a training camp. At the moment, we’re trying to get information from the site,” said one security official in the region, who declined to be identified.

Another security official said the camp was being used by militants from Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Residents said the compound was empty as militants had left it hours before the strike.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari (R) delivers a speech at the Pakistan Donors Conference in Tokyo April 17, 2009. Zardari on Friday called for the support of the international community in stabilising Pakistan and said his government would do its part in the fight against terrorism. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

“The drones were flying last night and we saw those living in the house leaving in the dark,” said villager Kaleem Wazir.

“The building has been destroyed completely and there’s just a vehicle parked inside. There’s no dead body, no wounded.”

The United States, frustrated by an intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan getting support from the Pakistani side of the border, began launching more drone attacks last year.

Since then, about 35 U.S. strikes have killed about 350 people, including mid-level al Qaeda members, according to reports from Pakistani officials, residents and militants.

Pakistan objects to the strikes. Officials say about one in six of the strikes over the past year caused civilian deaths without killing any militants, and that fuels anti-U.S. sentiment, complicating the military’s struggle to subdue violence.

Reporting by Hafiz Wazir and Alamgir Bitani; Writing by Kamran Haider; Editing by Robert Birsel and Sanjeev Miglani

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