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Suspected US Missile Strike Kills 20 in Pakistan

By VOA News

04 October 2008

Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike has killed at least 20 people, including several suspected foreign militants, along the Afghan border.

Local villagers Saturday began burying the dead from Friday's attack on a home in the village of Mohammed Khel, in the North Waziristan tribal region.

The Pakistani officials say an unmanned aircraft launched a missile that hit the home of an Afghan. Officials say many of the dead were Arabs and that they had no information whether any senior militant leaders were killed.

Pakistan's army spokesman, Major-General Athar Abbas, told VOA today that details of the missile attack were still coming and that it was too early to say whether any foreigners were killed in the attack. Abbas also denied reports of a separate attack in North Waziristan Friday, saying international troops were carrying out an operation across the border, in Afghanistan.

Pakistan objects to cross-border attacks and is conducting its own offensive against suspected al-Qaida and Taliban militants in its northwestern Bajaur tribal region.

In some parts of Pakistan's northwest, tribal leaders are taking their own action against militants.

Today, a tribal council (jirga) in the Mamound area of Bajaur decided to form a local tribal militia (lashkar) to fight insurgents. Residents say the group immediately began setting fire to homes belonging to suspected militants.

Local tribesman also said the government had re-established control of several parts of Bajaur, amid the ongoing military operation there.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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