Officials: 3 killed in missile strike in Pakistan

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) - October 11, 2008 Two unmanned drones were seen above Miran Shah in north Waziristan minutes before missiles hit a house near a factory late Saturday, the officials said, based on reports from informants in the town.

The intelligence officials said there were no indications that any foreign militants were among the victims. Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters have established bases throughout Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal regions, where they are said to plan attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan as well as violence in Pakistan.

They said initial reports put the death toll at three, but later two more bodies were recovered from rubble of the house of a local tribeman. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment.

Under U.S. pressure, Pakistan has carried out military offensives against insurgents while also trying to woo various tribes to turn against extremists. But in recent weeks, the U.S. has signaled its impatience with Pakistani efforts.

The U.S. is suspected in at least 11 missile strikes on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border since mid-August, killing more than 100 people, most of them alleged militants, according to an Associated Press count based on Pakistan intelligence numbers. The United States rarely confirms or denies the attacks, which provoke anger among many Pakistanis.

Pakistan's military and civilian leaders have criticized the strikes as violations of their country's sovereignty. But they have not forcefully demanded Washington stop them, leading to criticism from Muslim conservatives.

On Saturday, Pakistan's Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik accused the U.S. and Afghanistan of not doing enough to stop Islamist militants from crossing into its territory.

Malik said his country had arrested scores of Afghan militants on its side of the border, and that insurgents were using rocket launchers and missiles against its troops.

Also Saturday, mourners buried victims of a suicide bombing near the border that targeted anti-Taliban tribesmen who were moving to evict militants from their region.

Government official Asghar Khan said authorities had tallied at least 34 bodies, but as many as 25 other bodies may have been taken away by relatives. Some media reports said the death toll from Friday's attack was much higher.


Associated Press writers Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Habib Khan in Khar and Munir Ahmad and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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