Page last updated at 10:36 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

'US raid kills eight' in Pakistan


Missiles fired by a suspected US drone have killed at least eight militants in a Pakistani tribal region on the Afghan border, local officials say.

The missiles destroyed a house in a remote village, they said.

The attack took place in North Waziristan which is known to be a hub of al-Qaeda and Taleban militants.

In recent weeks, more than 100 people - among them suspected militants and many civilians - have been killed in the tribal areas in attacks by US missiles.

The issue has become extremely sensitive in Pakistan where anti-American sentiment is rising.

Pakistan's government says such unilateral American operations undermine its own counter-insurgency strategy.

Meanwhile, an Afghan and a Japanese journalist have been shot and wounded in the city of Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province. Earlier this week, an American aid worker was shot dead in Peshawar and an Iranian diplomat was kidnapped.

'Hearts and minds'

The latest drone attack took place in the early hours of Friday morning in a village near the town of Razmak in North Waziristan not far from the Afghan border.

Archive image of a US "hunter-killer" drone, the MQ-9 Reaper, which has been deployed in Afghanistan
It is the second drone attack reported in the area in recent days

Two missiles fired from a drone struck a house in the village, destroying it completely, reports said.

Local officials say all those killed were militants.

They say they cannot confirm whether any foreigners were among the dead.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad says this area is part of territory under the control of local Taleban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur. It was the target of a similar drone attack last Friday, in which 11 militants were reported killed.

The latest attack comes days after Pakistan's President Asif Zardari's appeal to US president-elect Barack Obama to review the strategy of attacking targets in Pakistan's tribal areas.

"It's undermining my sovereignty and it's not helping win the... hearts and minds of people," Mr Zardari told CBS News.

North Waziristan is known as a haven for Taleban and al-Qaeda fighters who enter Afghanistan and the US administration suspects that senior al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are hiding there.

The United States has stepped up missile attacks from drones in the region in recent weeks.

There have been nearly 20 strikes in the past three months and, while US officials say al-Qaeda leaders are being successfully targeted, local tribesmen say scores of civilians have been killed.

Most of the missile strikes have taken place in the Waziristan region, where no Pakistani military operation is in progress.

Last week, Pakistan told the visiting head of US Central Command General David Petraeus that the missile strikes were "counter-productive" and detrimental to the so-called "war on terror".

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