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8 Miltants Killed in Pakistan Drone Strike

VOA News 04 October 2010

Pakistani officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike has killed at least eight militants, including German nationals, in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region.

Officials say a drone fired two missiles at a building in the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan late Monday. Some of the militants were said to be German citizens.

Pakistan's northwest has been named as the source of an al-Qaida-linked terrorist plot in major British, French and German cities.

The United States has increased drone aircraft strikes targeting al-Qaida and Taliban-linked militants in the tribal region, with 21 attacks in September. The U.S. does not confirm the strikes - carried out by U.S. intelligence agency, the CIA - which Pakistan says is a violation of its sovereignty.

Earlier Monday, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for a pre-dawn attack on about 20 tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan. The militant group said it was avenging the drone strikes and that the attacks would continue until the supply convoys are stopped.

Police say at least three people were killed when gunmen opened fire on the tankers and then set the trucks ablaze at a depot in Islamabad before dawn.

A second attack took place Monday in the southwestern province of Baluchistan. Pakistani officials say two gunmen on motorcycles torched two trucks carrying NATO supplies, killing one person.

There have been four attacks on NATO supply convoys since Pakistan closed the northwestern Torkhum border crossing Thursday, following a NATO cross-border raid that Pakistan says killed three of its soldiers in the Kurram region. Trucks remained lined up at the border on Monday.

Pakistani officials say they closed the Torkhum border crossing for security reasons. On Sunday, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States indicated the supply route would reopen this week.

NATO says its forces were pursuing militants out of self defense when helicopters crossed the border into Pakistan on Thursday. A joint investigation is underway.

A sharp increase in attacks by unmanned planes flying over Pakistan and recent NATO border incursions have raised tensions between the international forces and Islamabad.

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

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