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Deaths in US drone attack in Pakistan

At least seven killed in latest attack marking first strike since anti-drone prime minister was sworn in.

Last Modified: 07 Jun 2013 19:10
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Unpopular drone strikes "should come to an end", Nawaz Sharif said as he was sworn in as prime minister [AFP]

A US drone strike has killed seven people in northwest Pakistan, the first since Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister this week calling for an end to such attacks, local officials said.

The missiles hit a compound in Shokhel village, more than 100km southwest of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal district, which is known as a stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

"The US drone fired two missiles targeting a militant compound and killing at least seven militants", a senior local security official told AFP news agency.

Another official confirmed the strike and casualties but said the identities of those killed were not yet known.

The strike came just two days after Sharif was sworn in for a historic third time and asked the US to end its campaign of drone attacks.

"We respect the sovereignty of others and they should also respect our sovereignty and independence. This campaign should come to an end," he said after lawmakers endorsed him as premier on Wednesday.

He had also publicly criticised the drone strike that killed Taliban deputy Waliur Rehman last week, echoing long-held Pakistani complaints that the US campaign violates national sovereignty.

Missile strikes by unmanned US aircraft have been very unpopular in Pakistan, but Washington views them as a vital tool in the fight againstTaliban and Al-Qaeda militants holed up in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.

Ties with Washington will be a key part of Sharif's tenure, particularly as NATO withdraws the bulk of its forces from neighbouring Afghanistan by the end of next year after more than 12 years of war.

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