A U.S. senator says an estimated 4,700 people, including some civilians, have been killed by U.S. drone strikes.
It is described as the first time a U.S. lawmaker or government representative has referred to a total number of fatalities from hundreds of drone strikes that have been carried out against terrorist targets in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere.
Republican Party Senator Lindsey Graham was quoted as giving the toll in a speech in Easley, in his home state of South Carolina.
Graham, a member of the the Senate Armed Services Committee who supports drone strikes, was quoted by the local website Easley.patch.com as saying of the strikes, "We’ve killed 4,700," including some "very senior members of Al-Qaeda."
The AFP news agency says Graham’s office has indicated the senator was quoted accurately.
Based on reports from Easley.patch.com and AFP