‘CIA targeted rescuers of drone strikes’

The CIA unmanned aircraft deliberately targeted rescuers attempting to help victims of previous drone strikes in Pakistan™s tribal areas, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found.

A field investigation by the Bureau focuses on drone strikes in a single village in North Waziristan last year when the CIA was after Yahya al-Libi, an alleged senior al-Qeada member who was finally killed in one of the aerial attacks on June 4, 2012.

The CIA had at the time shown a video to Congressional aides in which only Libi is killed in a drone strike. The Bureau™s research, however, has found that 16 people were actually killed in a sequence of such attacks.

It was first in February 2012 that an investigation by the Bureau found that the CIA had conducted 11 drone attacks on rescuers of previous strikes in Pakistan™s tribal areas between 2009 and 2011.

The tactic, called œdouble-tap” strikes, apparently stopped in July 2011 but new reports show that the CIA had resumed the strikes a year later.

Five double-tap strikes took place in mid-2012, killing 53 people and injuring 57 others. One of the attacks targeted a mosque, a report by Pakistani journalist Mushtaq Yusufzai, commissioned by the Bureau, found.

The US has always escaped from admitting that civilians have been killed in drone strikes. However, in investigation by legal charity Reprieve indicated that eight civilians died in a double-tap strike on July 6 2012 with the possibility of further civilian deaths in a July 23 attack.

œOn both occasions [in July] our independent investigation showed a high number of civilians who were rescuers were killed in the strikes,” Shahzad Akbar, Islamabad-based lawyer, says, confirming the findings of Reprieve™s investigation.

UN™s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Christof Heyns noted in June 2012 that double-tap strikes can be labeled as war crimes.

œIf civilian ˜rescuers™ are indeed being intentionally targeted, there is no doubt about the law: those strikes are a war crime,” he said.

Another UN official, Ben Emmerson QC, UN special rapporteur on torture, also agreed with his colleague. Christof Heyns… has described such attacks, if they prove to have happened, as war crimes. I would endorse that view.”

MA/MA

Republished from: Press TV

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