Suspected U.S. missile attack kills 8 in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suspected pilotless U.S. drone aircraft fired missiles in a Pakistani region on the Afghan border on Sunday killing at least eight militants, including foreigners, intelligence officials said.

Two missiles struck a house near Sarorogha village in the South Waziristan tribal region, a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, one of the officials said.

“At least eight militants have been killed,” said the intelligence official in the area, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

“According to our reports, there are ‘guests’ among the dead,” he said, referring to foreign militants.

Another intelligence official said missiles targeted a bunker near the house.

A villager, Hakeemullah, said eight bodies had been recovered from the rubble, and people were searching for more casualties.

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The United States began staging drone attacks with greater frequency a year ago, and there has been no let-up since the administration led by President Barack Obama took over in January, despite complaints from the Pakistani government.

Pakistan believes the civilian casualties caused by the strikes have fueled support for the militants, whereas U.S. officials believe the drone attacks have killed a number of mid-level al Qaeda members.

With no change in sight in U.S. policy on the drone attacks, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said last month he had asked the United States to transfer the pilotless aircraft to Pakistan.

Qureshi, who was in Washington to take part in the Obama administration’s review of policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said he asked U.S. officials that if the attacks were necessary, to transfer the technology to Pakistan.

Reporting by Alamgir Bitani; Writing by Augustine Anthony; Editing by Robert Birsel