Last Updated 5/16/09 7:00 PM EST
A US drone fired two missiles at a religious school (madrassa) in Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency today, killing at least 40 and wounding an as yet undetermined number of others. Villagers are reportedly still recovering people from the debris of the destroyed school, and several of the wounded are in critical condition, so the final death toll may yet rise.
Foreign militants were reportedly among the dead, but officials said it was unclear exactly who was killed in the strike. It is the first US attack since reports emerged last week of a formal drone partnership which gave the Pakistani military “significant control” over the targets of military drone strikes. Both milities have since denied the arrangement, and it remains unclear if today’s drone strike was conducted by the US military or the CIA.
The US attacks on North and South Waziristan have been increasing in intensity and severity since President Obama took office, over the public complaints and private support of the Pakistani government. Pakistan is reportedly planning a massive military offensive against the Waziristan tribes in the next few weeks, which will reportedly involve “huge numbers of troops.” The Wazir tribesmen have been fleeing to cities in the neighboring North-West Frontier Province in recent days on news of the impending invasion.