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U.S. missiles kill 14 in northwest Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Two U.S. missile strikes about two hours apart killed at least 14 men near the Afghan border in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, two Pakistani intelligence officials said.

At least nine people were killed in the first strike when missiles destroyed a moving vehicle in the North Waziristan tribal region, the officials said. Two hours later drones fired more missiles that struck people who had gathered to retrieve the bodies, killing five, they said.

The identities and nationalities of the 14 slain men were not immediately known, the officials said. The Associated Press said they spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

U.S. authorities often target militants and militant facilities in the region, a hideout for local and foreign insurgents who target U.S. and NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan. The latest strikes came a day after four missiles struck a militant convoy, killing eight suspected militants. An additional 35 were killed in similar strikes on Monday and Tuesday.

A total of 118 such strikes, carried out by unmanned aircraft, were launched in 2010 in the northwest border region, killing about 2,100 people, most of them militants, according to the Washington-based policy think-tank New America Foundation.

Pakistan's government publicly protests the airstrikes, saying they violate its sovereignty and anger tribesmen whose support is needed to fight extremists. But Islamabad is believed to provide intelligence for at least some of the strikes.

U.S. officials rarely discuss the covert, CIA-run missile program.

U.S. missiles kill 14 in northwest Pakistan 01/01/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:52pm]
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