Pakistan: US strike kills 8; protests erupt over bin Laden

At least 8 suspected terrorists killed during first US drone attack since killing of al-Qaida leader; Over 1,500 Islamists demonstrate killing.

May 6, 2011 13:47
1 minute read.
An MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft in Iraq.

Armed UAV predator drone 311. (photo credit: Courtesy of US Air Force)

ISLAMABAD - US drone aircraft fired missiles into a house in Pakistan's North Waziristan region on Friday, killing at least eight suspected terrorists just as Islamists protested against the killing of Osama bin Laden.

It was the first drone strike since US special forces killed the al-Qaida leader on May 2 not far from Islamabad, further straining ties between the strategic allies.

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About 1,500 Islamists demonstrated against bin Laden's killing, saying more figures like him would arise to wage holy war against the United States.

Predominantly Muslim Pakistan has yet to see any major backlash after US forces killed bin Laden early on Monday in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.

But his death has angered Islamists, with one major hardline political party calling on the government to end its support for the US war on terror.

"Jihad (holy war) against America will not stop with the death of Osama," Fazal Mohammad Baraich, a cleric, said amid shouts of "Down with America" at a demonstration near the city of Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province in the southwest.

"Osama bin Laden is a shaheed (martyr). The blood of Osama will give birth to thousands of other Osamas."

Some protesters burned American flags.

Anti-American sentiment runs high in Pakistan, despite billions of dollars in aid for the nuclear-armed, impoverished country.

Pakistan's religious parties have not traditionally done well at the ballot box, but they wield considerable influence on the streets of a country where Islam is becoming more radicalized.

The Pakistani government said bin Laden's death was a milestone in the fight against terror although it objected to the raid on him as a violation of its sovereignty.

Suspicion that some Pakistani security forces might have known bin Laden was hiding in the country has threatened to strain ties between the allies.

Pakistan has denied any knowledge of the al-Qaida leader's whereabouts and the army threatened on Thursday to cut intelligence and military cooperation with the United States if it mounted more attacks.

Pakistani cooperation is seen as crucial for efforts to end the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

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