Suspected US missile strike kills seven militants in Pakistan (Lead)

March 26th, 2009 - 12:59 am ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, March 25 (DPA) A suspected US missile strike in Pakistan’s troubled northwestern tribal region near Afghanistan killed at least seven Al Qaeda-linked militants Wednesday, a security official said.
The attack took place in the Makeen area in the South Waziristan tribal district, a known stronghold of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants.

A local intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said two missiles struck two vehicles carrying around a dozen foreign militants of Arab origin, at around 5 p.m. local time.

“According to the information we are receiving from the locals, seven people are said to be killed, and some more are injured,” the intelligence official added.

“US drones were seen flying in the area during the attack,” the intelligence officer said, adding the local Taliban militants sealed off the area following the attack and the bodies were being moved to an undisclosed location.

The Makeen sub-district is the stronghold of Pakistan Taliban’s leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Running out of patience over Pakistan’s inability to stop militants from launching cross-border attacks on international troops in Afghanistan, US forces have conducted about 36 air raids in the past four months, killing dozens of suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

Pakistan, a key US ally in the international fight against terrorism, has repeatedly protested against the strikes, saying they violate the country’s sovereignty and fuel public anger.

But it has not taken any military action to stop the air attacks, avoiding a direct conflict with US forces.

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