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US drone strike kills at least three in Pakistan
by Staff Writers
Miranshah, Pakistan (AFP) Dec 9, 2012


US drones targeting a militant compound killed at least three people in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border on Sunday, officials said.

The strike took place in Tabbi village, five kilometres (three miles) north of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan which is known as a bastion of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

"US drones fired four missiles on a militant compound, killing three rebels," a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Another security official confirmed the attack and casualties but said the identity of those killed in the strike was not immediately known.

Tabbi village, which is very close to the Afghan border, is said to be a hideout for militants belonging to several groups including those from Hafiz Gul Bahadur and the Haqqani network.

The Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan, is one of the thorniest issues between Islamabad and Washington.

Washington has long demanded that Pakistan take action against the Haqqanis, whom the United States accused of attacking the US embassy in Kabul in September last year.

Pakistan has in turn demanded that Afghan and US forces do more to stop Pakistani Taliban crossing the border from Afghanistan to launch attacks on its forces.

Attacks by unmanned US aircraft remain contentious. They are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment, but American officials are said to believe they are too important to give up.

Casualty figures are difficult to obtain. A report commissioned by legal lobby group Reprieve in September estimated that between 474 to 881 civilians were among 2,562 to 3,325 people killed by drones in Pakistan between June 2004 and September 2012.

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