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US missile strike kills six in Pakistan

At least six people were killed in a suspected US missile strike in a Pakistani region known as a safe haven for Al-Qaeda, say intelligence officials.

world Updated: Jul 28, 2008 23:02 IST

At least six people, including three foreign Islamist militants, were killed in a suspected US missile strike on Monday in a Pakistani region known as a safe haven for Al Qaeda, intelligence officials and residents said.

A senior Pakistani security official said that Abu Khabab al-Masri, an Egyptian chemist regarded as one of Qaeda’s top bomb makers, could have been the target. The attack took place near Azam Warsak village, about 20 km west of Wana, the main town of the South Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

“At least three missiles struck the house at around 4:00 am, killing six people and wounding three,” an intelligence official in the region said.

Another intelligence official, who declined to be identified, said the dead included three foreigners and three local tribesmen.

Residents said they heard the sound of a drone aircraft engine, suggesting that the missile may have been fired by a US-controlled unmanned Predator. “We had heard the sound of a drone engine just before the explosions,”said Zia-ur-Rehman, a local tribesmen. “These drones have been flying since Sunday night.”

A Pakistani military spokesman said he had little information.

“Some incident did take place but what kind of strike it was, whether it was missile or rocket attack or bomb explosion, we don’t know,” said military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was in Washington on Monday and due to hold talks later with President George W. Bush that will focus on the conduct of the war against terrorism.

Drone missile strikes have killed dozens of suspected militants in northwest Pakistan this year.