Source AP ©

Missile attack kills 10 militants in Pakistan

Ten militants were killed and 11 wounded in a missile attack near the Afghan border in Pakistan, security officials said Friday.

It was not clear who fired the missile that struck a compound in Danday village on the outskirts of Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal region, an army official and two local security officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Residents in Miran Shah, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Afghan border, said they heard a huge explosion. Militants blocked a reporter from approaching the building that was hit.

Later, the militants took the dead and wounded from the attack scene, but it was not clear where, the two officials said. They said the casualties were local militants.

Pakistani forces have been battling pro-Taliban militants in North Waziristan, scene of heavy fighting last month. Pakistan is also under U.S. pressure to crack down on militants in the region, amid concerns that al-Qaida could be regrouping there.

Spokesmen for Pakistan's army and government did not respond to calls seeking comment, but the army official confirmed the attack, although he would not say who had launched it.

Residents said they saw a low-flying drone, coming from the direction of the Afghan border, an hour before the attack.

"I saw a spy plane about one hour before the explosion," said local shop owner Arman Khan. Two other residents also said they saw a drone before the attack.

Sgt. 1st Class Dean Welch, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said no strikes near or across the border had been reported Friday. He said the closest strike was about 16 kilometers (10 miles) inside the Afghan border.

Suspected U.S. missiles have struck suspected militant hideouts in Pakistan's lawless tribal regions in the past.

In January 2006, missiles allegedly fired from a CIA Predator drone hit houses in Bajur, another tribal region near Afghanistan, targeting al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri and killing at least 13 people. Al-Zawahri was not in the area at the time, according to Pakistani intelligence officials.

The U.S. government never confirmed its involvement in that strike.

In December 2005, a suspected American missile killed an Egyptian al-Qaida figure, Hamza Rabia, in North Waziristan. Pakistan's army claimed that Rabia died while making bombs at a home, where fragments of what appeared to be a missile were seen by local reporters.

Friday's missile attack came as U.S. Central Command chief Adm. William Fallon visited Pakistan. He met with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Geo TV network reported.

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