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US drone attacks kill "at least 18" in Pakistan

The three drone attacks along the Afghan-Pakistan border come days after senior Al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri was reported killed by a U.S. strike in the area.

Three suspected U.S. drone attacks have killed at least 18 people in the tribal areas along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, local officials say.

The first two drone strikes hit a compound and religious school in the South Waziristan tribal area, Pakistani intelligence officials told Al-Jazeera. The third drone attack hit a vehicle traveling on the border, according to the Associated Press.

Monday’s drone attacks come a day after 18 people died and 40 were wounded in a bomb blast at a bakery in the town of Nowshera in northwest Pakistan. Earlier that day, a bomb explosion at a bus stop near Peshawar killed six people. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for both attacks, Al-Jazeera reports.

Militants have vowed to avenge the death of Osama Bin Laden last month in the Pakistani city of Abbotabad.

The suspected U.S. attacks in Pakistan's troubled tribal region along the Afghan border come just three days after senior Al Qaeda operative Ilyas Kashmiri was reported to have been killed in a U.S. strike in the area.

The drone attacks early Monday took place in a mountainous area near Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan region, according to reports. The number of people killed was not immediately known. Several Arab men were reported to be among those killed, the AP reports.

More than 100 drone attacks were reported last year in the tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistan border, killing many militants but also hundreds of civilians.

United States officials do not usually confirm that they have carried out an attack. In the past the drone strikes have had the tacit approval of Pakistani authorities, although Pakistani leaders have denied this.

But in recent months, following the U.S. special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden, senior Pakistani security officials have reportedly been pressing to curb such operations.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/110606/pakistan-attack-us-drone-strikes-al-qaeda