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Suspected US airstrike kills two

world Updated: Dec 16, 2008 20:02 IST

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A suspected US drone attack has killed at least two people in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border, an official and local residents said on Tuesday.

The missile strike, which took place on Monday night, targeted a house in Tabi Tolkhel village, about 5 km west of the region's main town Miranshah, a security official said on condition of anonymity.

"Two people were killed and three others were wounded in the explosion," the official said.

No information was available about the identity of the victims.

But one villager said a missile destroyed the house of a local tribesman named Ghuncha Gul. He put the casualty figures at three dead and three injured.

Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas are believed to serve as sanctuaries for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, who periodically carry out deadly attacks on US-led international troops in Afghanistan.

The US forces stepped up their missile strikes, mainly launched from pilotless Predator aircraft, earlier this year to take out targets on Pakistani soil. More than three dozen raids have been reported since August.

US forces seldom own up to the attacks, which have angered the Pakistani leadership to a point where it has threatened to review the Islamic republic's cooperation with the US coalition fighting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

Media reports on Tuesday said US President George W Bush had hinted at continuing drone attacks inside Pakistan without consulting authorities in Islamabad.

"You know very well that when it comes to certain matters, the US government doesn't discuss operations," Bush told reporters on board his plane as he travelled to Afghanistan on Monday.