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US defends unmanned drone attacks after harsh UN report

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REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Handout/Files

(Read caption) Members of the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron from Indian Springs, Nev., perform pre-flight checks on the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle prior to a mission, in this November 9, 2001 file photo shot at an undisclosed location. US officials defended the use of unmanned drones after a critical UN report was released.

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A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

US officials and security analysts defended the use of unmanned drone attacks, after a UN official urged a halt to such killings in a strongly worded report released Wednesday.

The debate comes in the wake of reports that Al Qaeda's No. 3 commander, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, was killed along with his wife, three daughters, and a grand-daughter in a US drone attack in Pakistan.

Since 2004, the US has conducted a covert assassination campaign against suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan, using unmanned drones often operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in control rooms thousands of miles away. Drone use has soared under President Barack Obama. (Agence France-Presse offers a graphic of a how a drone operates.)

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