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Suspected U.S. airstrike kills 5 in tribal area

September 08, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A suspected U.S. missile struck a Pakistani militant stronghold near the Afghan border, killing five people, officials and a resident said.

The missile hit a compound in Machi Khel village in the North Waziristan tribal area, home to the Taliban and affiliated militant groups, some of which are suspected in attacks on Western troops stationed in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military has fired scores of missiles from unmanned drones into Pakistan's lawless tribal regions over the last year, a campaign that it says has killed several top Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders.

An August missile strike killed Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mahsud in the neighboring South Waziristan tribal region, in Pakistan's northwest.

The identities of the people killed in the latest strike were not immediately clear, said three Pakistani officials, two of whom work for the intelligence service. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Resident Hikmat Ullah said the strike caused "a big blast."

"We saw three planes flying in the sky before the missile strike," he said.

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