'US missile strike' kills 3 in Pakistan

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The Independent Online

A suspected US missile strike by a drone aircraft destroyed a vehicle in north-west Pakistan today, killing at least three foreign militants, said intelligence officials.

At least one local militant was wounded in the attack in the South Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border, said the two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The US has launched dozens of similar attacks in recent years in Pakistan's tribal areas, where al-Qa'ida and Taliban fighters have sought sanctuary to stage attacks across the border into Afghanistan. The strikes have provoked protests from Pakistani officials and residents in the tribal areas saying they are a violation of the country's sovereignty.

The three militants killed Thursday were from a Central Asian country, said the officials without providing further details. They said they received information about the attack from local agents.

Pakistani military officials were not immediately available for comment. Washington usually does not confirm such strikes.

Meanwhile, militants fired four rockets at a government building in the town of Khar in the Bajur tribal region Thursday, killing at least four people and wounding 16 others, said local government official Israr Khan. The wounded were transported to a hospital for treatment, he added.

The Pakistani military has conducted an intermittent campaign against insurgents in Bajur, an area that has also been targeted by several US missile strikes.

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