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Page last updated at 05:17 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 06:17 UK

'Drone kills eight in Pakistan'

Tribal areas map

Missiles fired by a suspected US drone have flattened a house and killed at least eight people in Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, officials say.

The attack took place in Sra Khawra village in the troubled South Waziristan district.

The area is the stronghold of Pakistani Taleban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

There have been three dozen alleged US strikes since August - killing about 340 people - most in the North and South Waziristan tribal regions.

Critical

"It was a drone strike on a compound where militants used to stay before crossing the border or after coming back from Afghanistan," news agency AFP quoted a Pakistani security official as saying.

It quoted another official as saying that two missiles were fired at the house, which is around 25km (16 miles) from Wana, South Waziristan's main town, and just a few kilometres from the Afghan border.

"Foreigners and local Taleban were assembled there. It was a compound - like a house in the mountains," the official said.

The attack comes as the Pakistani military is involved in a major offensive against Taleban militants in the Swat valley to the north.

Pakistan has been publicly critical of the drone attacks, arguing that they kill civilians and fuel support for militants.

Earlier this year, US President Barack Obama said his government would consult Pakistan on the attacks.

The US military routinely does not confirm drone attacks but the American armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are believed to be the only forces capable of deploying drones in the region.



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