WANA, Pakistan, Feb 28 (Reuters) - A missile struck a house
in a Pakistani region known as a safe haven for al Qaeda
militants early on Thursday, killing at least eight people,
residents and intelligence officials said.
The attack took place near Kaloosha village in the South
Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border.
"The blast shook the entire area, about eight people were
killed," Behlool Khan, a resident of the area, told Reuters.
A security official said he believed the missile was fired
by U.S. forces, who are operating in neighbouring Afghanistan.
U.S. forces have fired missiles at militants on the
Pakistani side of the border several times in recent years,
most recently in late January when one of Osama bin Laden's top
lieutenants, Abu Laith al-Libi, was killed.
That missile was believed to have been fired by a U.S.
However, neither U.S. nor Pakistani authorities officially
confirm U.S. missile attacks on Pakistani territory, which
would be an infringement of Pakistani sovereignty.
Pakistan, an important U.S. ally despite widespread public
opposition to the U.S.-led campaign against al Qaeda and the
Taliban, says foreign troops would never be allowed to operate
on its territory.
Many al Qaeda members, including Uzbeks and Arabs, and
Taliban militants took refuge in North and South Waziristan, as
well as in other areas on the Pakistani side of the border
after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan in
From sanctuaries in the lawless border belt, the Taliban
have orchestrated their insurgency against the Afghan
government and the U.S. and NATO forces supporting it.
Increasingly, so-called Pakistani Taliban have been
mounting attacks in Pakistani towns and cities, many aimed at
security forces and other government targets.