Source AP ©

Government driver killed in Pakistan

Gunmen killed a government driver on Friday in northwest Pakistan, a region of high tension where the missile strike took place last week.

At least four suspected militants died last Friday when missiles hit a home in Saidgi, a border village in North Waziristan. Pakistani intelligence officials have said the attack was launched from Afghan territory. Local militants vowed revenge.

On Friday, masked gunmen opened fire from a car on Asal Mir as he drove toward the main government office in Miran Shah, North Waziristan's main town, said Mohammed Naeem Khan, a senior official in the town.

Mir, 38, was fatally wounded before the attackers fled, he said.

Khan said a search had been launched for the assailants, but declined to discuss who might be behind the killing.

Also Friday, a lone attacker threw a hand grenade at a military convoy on the outskirts of Miran Shah, wounding at least five soldiers, a local intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of his job. Troops are hunting for the attacker.

Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, and it has deployed about 80,000 troops in its tribal regions bordering Afghanistan to pursue the remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaida.

In September 2006, Pakistan signed a peace deal with militants and tribal elders under which it halted operations against rebels. In return, the militants were supposed to stop attacking troops in the region.

Although the deal still holds, local militants occasionally target security forces and officials, and the army says it has the right to go after anyone breaking the agreement.

On Thursday, suspected militants kidnapped and beheaded a man near the village to the west of Miran Shah, accusing him of spying for the United States.