Four militants killed in suspected US missile strike (Lead)

November 19th, 2008 - 4:27 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Nov 19 (DPA) At least four Islamic militants were killed and seven injured Wednesday in a missile strike by a suspected pilotless US aircraft in north-west Pakistan, a Pakistani official said.One of the two missiles fired hit a house in the village of Zandi Alikhel in the Jani Khel semi-tribal area of the Bannu district in the North-West Frontier Province.

The pre-dawn airstrike destroyed a mud compound that belonged to a Taliban militant named Dilber, alias Parpanda, said an intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

According to him, three of the dead were foreigners, a term used to refer to Al Qaeda-linked fighters of Arab or Central Asian origin. The fourth killed was a local militant identified as Rafiullah.

“The Taliban cordoned off the area after the attack and moved the bodies of the three foreigners to some undisclosed location,” the official said.

The United States in recent months has intensified strikes by pilotless aircraft against militants in Pakistan’s tribal region, from which the Islamist insurgents launch crossborder attacks on international forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, a key US ally, has been angered by the airstrikes and warned that such actions would prove “counterproductive” in the fight against terrorism.

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