Pakistan deaths in 'US drone strike'

At least three suspected Taliban fighters killed in a missile attack on a village in the North Waziristan tribal area.

    A US drone has fired a pair of missiles at a house in Pakistan's northwest tribal region near the Afghan border, killing three suspected fighters, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

    The strike early on Thursday hit Mubarak Shahi village in the North Waziristan tribal area, the main sanctuary for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Pakistan, said the intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.

    "Militants were using this house as a compound. At least three militants were killed in this drone strike," a security official based in the northwestern city of Peshawar told AFP news agency.

    Another security official in Miranshah confirmed the attack and said four fighters were killed.

    The exact identities of the suspected fighters were unclear. The area is dominated by prominent local commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who has focused his fight against Afghan and foreign troops across the border in Afghanistan.

    Violation of sovereignty

    The covert US attacks are unpopular in Pakistan, where the government criticises them as a violation of sovereignty but American officials believe they are a vital weapon against Taliban fighters.

    The US rarely discusses the covert CIA drone programme in Pakistan in public. But American officials have said privately that the strikes have killed many senior al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders.

    On Wednesday, a pair of suicide bombers rammed their truck filled with explosives into the gate of an army camp in another part of Pakistan's tribal region, killing three soldiers and wounding more than 20, intelligence officials said.

    Many were wounded when the blast caused the roof of a military hospital at the camp to collapse, said the intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.

    Some of the soldiers were critically wounded, and officials warned the death toll could rise.

    The attack occurred in Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan tribal area, which was the most important sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban until the army launched a major ground offensive in 2009.

    The army says it has made great progress in flushing the fighters out of the area, but attacks still occur periodically.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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