Four killed by US missile strike in Pakistan


A suspected US missile attack in Pakistan's lawless north-western region killed at least four militants on Monday, an intelligence official said.

The strike targeted a vehicle believed to be carrying Taliban fighters in the North Waziristan tribal district near the Afghan border. "Four militants were killed and at least five others were wounded," a local intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.

It was not immediately clear whether any high-profile target was engaged in the assault which took place at around 6 a.m. (0100 GMT). According to the official, unconfirmed reports received from informants suggested the death toll could be higher than four.

It was the third missile strike in the North Waziristan region within a week as two simultaneous aerial raids Monday and Tuesday killed at least 15 militants, including Uzbek fighters. Pakistan publicly opposes US drone strikes inside its restive tribal territory, saying they violate its sovereignty.

Officials in Islamabad argue that the assaults are proving counterproductive in the fight against militancy, as they fuelled public criticism of the US operations against Taliban. Pakistan's tribal region is considered a hotbed of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, who use the rugged lands to plan and launch deadly attacks on Western forces deployed in neighbouring Afghanistan.

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