Officials: US missile kills 5 in NW Pakistan

AP News
Posted: Mar 16, 2011 1:54 AM
Officials: US missile kills 5 in NW Pakistan

An American missile attack Wednesday killed five people in a northwestern region of Pakistan that is under effective Islamist militant control, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The missile destroyed a house in the North Waziristan region close to the Afghan border, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations of their agency. The identities of the victims or the details of the strike were not known.

Pakistan's tribal regions close to Afghanistan are a major sanctuary for al-Qaida and Taliban militants fighting in both countries. They are also home to terrorists plotting attacks around the world.

The United States began firing missiles at militant targets there in 2004, but the pace of the attacks picked up dramatically in 2008. Last year, there were around 120 strikes, which are believed to be carried out by unmanned drone planes launched either from Afghanistan or from inside Pakistan. There have been around 18 this year so far.

Most of the strikes this year and last have been in North Waziristan, a major base for al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Washington does not acknowledge firing the missiles and reporters are barred from visiting the area, meaning it is hard to verify who is being killed. Pakistani leaders formally protest the strikes, but its intelligence agencies are widely believed to cooperate in some of them.

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