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Drone strike kills five

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-19

A missile strike in northwest Pakistan (pictured), possibly launched by a US drone, killed five suspected militants, including possible Al Qaeda members, according to security officials on Wednesday.

A missile strike by a suspected US drone killed at least five people including foreigners in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border, security officials said Wednesday.
  
The attack marked the first US missile strike outside of the rugged tribal regions which have become safe havens for militants linked to Taliban and Al-Qaeda, one Pakistani security official said.
  
The house targeted was located in northwestern Bannu district, on the border of the tribal territory, he said.
  
According to local officials, at least seven people were also wounded in the missile strike.
  
"The strike overnight destroyed the house of a tribesman Sakhi Mohammad in the Bannu district," a senior security official told AFP.
  
"At least two foreigners were among five killed."
  
Pakistani officials use the term "foreigners" to describe Al-Qaeda militants.
  
Bannu police officer Alam Sheerani confirmed the missile attack but did not give details of casualties.
  
The latest strike came five days after two missiles fired from a US drone aircraft killed 10 Islamist militants in the North Waziristan region, known as a hub of Al-Qaeda and Taliban rebels.
  
The strike took place despite repeated warnings from Pakistan that such attacks are in violation of international law and could deepen resentment of the United States in the world's second-largest Islamic nation.
  
Washington has stepped up its strikes on the region since March, when a civilian government took over from General Pervez Musharraf, who turned Pakistan into a close US ally in the "war on terror."
  
The series of recent strikes against suspected Al-Qaeda and Taliban hideouts in Pakistan's tribal areas, all blamed on unmanned CIA drones, have appeared to raise tensions between Washington and Islamabad.
  
But the Washington Post newspaper reported early this week that the US and Pakistani governments have reached a tacit agreement on Predator strikes on Pakistani territory, under which Islamabad allows them while continuing to complain about them and Washington never acknowledges them.
  
President Asif Ali Zardari recently promised zero tolerance against violations of his country's sovereignty.
  
He told the new US commander for Iraq and Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, early this month President Asif Ali Zardari that the attacks were "counterproductive" and could harm the battle for hearts and minds here.
  
Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, who left for Brussels Tuesday to participate in a meeting of NATO defence chiefs, will also hold talks with senior alliance officials about US missile strikes on Pakistani soil.
  

Date created : 2008-11-19

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