Officials: Suspected missile strike kills 8 in northwestern Pakistan
AP News , Sep 12, 2008 00:29 EST
Explosions caused by a suspected U.S. missile strike killed eight people Friday at a militant stronghold near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials said.
Two intelligence officials told The Associated press that the missiles struck a home near Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal region, before dawn.
The officials said the identity of the eight people killed and five others who were injured was not immediately clear.
U.S. forces in Afghanistan are stepping up their efforts to hit Taliban and al-Qaida militants in what they describe as safe havens in Pakistan’s wild border regions, despite stiff protests from Islamabad.
With the insurgency in Afghanistan intensifying, President Bush secretly approved more aggressive cross-border operations in July, current and former American officials have told The AP.
The intelligence officials said agents in South Waziristan had told them about the latest attack. A military official also confirmed the suspected missile attack. He had no information on casualties.
The three officials asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the record to media.
North Waziristan is part of a belt of tribally governed territory where Pakistan’s government has little control. The frontier region is considered the most likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida No.2 Ayman al-Zawahri.
Both the U.S. military and the CIA operate drone aircraft armed with missiles of the type believed to have killed two senior al-Qaida commanders in Pakistani territory earlier this year.
Pakistani officials warn that they strikes will deepen anti-American sentiment in the country and wreck efforts to win over moderate tribal leaders and bring economic development to the impoverished border region.
Associated Press writer Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan contributed to this report.
Source: AP News