US Drones Return to Hit Rescuers, Funerals

Strikes occurring every 4 days under Obama: report
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 6, 2012 12:37 PM CST
Supporters of Pakistani politician Imran Khan hold placards during a protest in Islamabad on January 27, 2012, against US drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A few days back, President Obama said that US drone attacks in Pakistan had "not caused a huge number of civilian casualties." But a Bureau of Investigative Journalism report finds that somewhere between 282 and 535 civilians, including 60 children, have been "credibly reported" killed in the campaign. Secondary strikes target groups of rescuers shortly after attacks, while other drones have killed dozens at funerals. Obama has drastically escalated the drone program; some 260 strikes have occurred an average of once every four days under his administration.

In 2009, a drone attack on Taliban militants plotting an attack on US troops killed "at least a dozen"; after villagers began helping Taliban survivors recover bodies, two more drones swept in. Some 29 were ultimately killed in the attacks. The same year, drones attacked a funeral for a Taliban boss killed in an earlier strike. The US targeted the event, which drew 5,000 attendees, in hopes of killing a Taliban leader. While he escaped, 83 others were killed, including up to 45 civilians. Such strikes "are like attacking the Red Cross on the battlefield," says one law expert; another notes that targeting civilians amounts to "crimes of war." Click through for the full investigation. (Read more drones stories.)

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