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Suspected U.S. drone missile attacks kill 12 in northwest Pakistan

PARACHINAR, Pakistan — Suspected U.S. drones fired missiles at a vehicle and a house in northwest Pakistan, killing 12 people Monday in a rare attack in an area where some of NATO's fiercest enemies have reportedly traveled, Pakistani officials said.

The first attack in the Kurram tribal area hit a vehicle, killing five people, said Noor Alam, a local government official. As tribesmen rushed to the scene, the vehicle was struck again, killing two more people, he said.

Minutes later, a suspected U.S. drone attacked a nearby house, killing five people, Alam said.

Seven of the 12 people killed in the attacks were Afghan militants whose bodies were taken across the border to be buried, Alam said. The attacks were confirmed by two Pakistani intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

The Obama administration has dramatically stepped up covert CIA drone attacks against militants in Pakistan, but there have only been a handful of strikes by the missile-firing pilotless planes in the Kurram tribal area. Monday's strikes could indicate an expansion of the program.

Most of the recent drone strikes have been in North Waziristan, an important sanctuary for the Haqqani network, which U.S. military officials have said is the most dangerous group battling foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Third-grader put in bomb vest, but escapes

Police said Monday that militants kidnapped a 9-year-old girl on her way to school and forced her to wear a suicide bomb vest. The girl and police said she managed to escape as her captors directed her to attack a paramilitary checkpoint in northwest Pakistan. Sohana Jawed, who is in third grade, said she was abducted near her home in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Saturday and taken to Lower Dir district, a four-hour drive away, where she was found Monday. But police in Peshawar said they haven't received a complaint of a missing girl and haven't identified a resident with her name.

Suspected U.S. drone missile attacks kill 12 in northwest Pakistan 06/20/11 [Last modified: Monday, June 20, 2011 11:55pm]
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