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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 March 2008, 12:44 GMT
Pakistan border strike 'kills 16'
At least 16 people have been killed in a missile strike on a building near Pakistan's northern border with Afghanistan, state television has said.

The attack took place in the South Waziristan region, where tribal militants are based, Reuters news agency reported residents as saying.

The Pakistani state TV report said several missiles destroyed the house of a suspected militant leader.

Reuters reported the military saying seven militants were among the dead.

"Initial reports suggest militants were hiding there and seven of them were killed and several wounded," an unnamed military official told the news agency.

A local tribesman said foreign militants were believed to be staying at the compound, in a village near Wana in South Waziristan.

"Militants have cordoned the blast site and are taking out bodies from the rubble," the tribesman told AFP news agency.

"The missile has left only part of a boundary wall intact and turned the compound into a pile of debris," he said.

War on militants

It was not clear who launched the strike.

A local tribesman, Rahim Khan, told the Associated Press that the missiles were fired from an unmanned drone aircraft.

US forces, operating in neighbouring Afghanistan, are believed to have been behind previous strikes in Pakistan's border region.

In February, at least 12 people - including suspected militants - were killed in a missile attack on a house near the Afghan border.

A month earlier, a senior al-Qaeda leader, Abu Laith al-Libi, was killed in a strike in North Waziristan.

The US considers strikes in the tribal border region - the heartland of al-Qaeda and the Taleban - to be vital in its war against Islamist militancy.

However, the Pentagon seldom confirms them, since Pakistan publicly opposes any US strike on its territory.

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