US missiles kill five in Pakistan: officials

TWO American missile attacks killed five people today in a region in northwest Pakistan that has seen few such strikes in the past.

The statement from Pakistan officials foreshadowed an apparent expansion of the CIA-led covert war inside the country.

The strikes took place in two villages in the Tirah Valley in the Khyber region, the Pakistani intelligence officers said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media. The same valley, which is known to be home militants, was hit late yesterday in another US attack.

Most of the more than 100 missile attacks this year inside Pakistan have taken place in North Waziristan, a tribal area effectively under the control of Taliban and al-Qa’ida groups.

Pakistan officials protest the strikes, but are believed to have secretly authorised at least some of them. Analysts also say targeting information for many of the attacks is likely to be provided by Pakistani intelligence officials.

The missiles, fired from unmanned drones, hit houses in the villages of Speen Drang and Shandana, the officials said. An official said a total of five people were killed and 11 wounded in both strikes.

The missile attacks have been credited with killing many top militants, but have stirred nationalist anger in Pakistan.

The frequency of the attacks has more than double this year compared to last, suggesting the Barack Obama administration sees the tactic as a key to reducing the strength of militants planning attacks in Afghanistan and the West.

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