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Page last updated at 08:36 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 09:36 UK

Pakistan drone attack 'kills 10'

US drone
Pakistan is critical of the US drone attacks

At least 10 suspected militants have been killed in a strike by a US drone in north-west Pakistan, local intelligence officials say.

The attack targeted an insurgents' camp in South Waziristan near the Afghan border, the officials said.

The area is the stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, whose death in an earlier strike has not yet been confirmed.

There have been dozens of such drone strikes in the past year.

Hundreds of militants and civilians have been killed.

Most of the strikes have taken place in the tribal regions of North and South Waziristan.

'Training camp'

The missiles on Tuesday targeted a training camp near the village of Ladda, in the heart of the Mehsud tribe's territory, officials said.

A resident, Hamdullah Mehsud, was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying that three missiles were fired into the house of a village used as a training camp by the militants.

In addition to those killed, five people had been wounded, he said.

In a similar attack last week, the house of the father-in-law of Baitullah Mehsud was hit in Makeen.

Mr Mehsud's wife was killed in the bombing. The Pakistani government's claim that the Taliban leader also died in the attack has not been confirmed.

Pakistan has been publicly critical of drone attacks. The government says that they fuel support for the militants.

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

In March, US President Barack Obama said his government would consult Pakistan on drone attacks.

Such attacks over the past year in the tribal regions have killed hundreds of militants and civilians.

Their frequency has increased in recent months suggesting that unmanned air assaults have been putting the militants and their leaders under pressure.

Correspondents say that for the time being, the American strategy of targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders using drones is set to continue despite opposition from some quarters in Pakistan.



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