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Christmas Day Drone Strike Pounds Pakistan

Four killed as anger at drone deaths boils and fresh protests flare

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Drone strikes in Pakistan--like this one that struck a madrassa last month in Hangu, killing six and wounding many more--have sparked nation-wide anger and protest (Photo: REUTERS/Syed Shah)In what is being reported as the first ever Christmas Day U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, a suspected U.S. drone on Wednesday fired two missiles at a home in the village of Qutab Khel in North Waziristan, killing four people.

The missiles struck just shy of midnight, and the victims were identified as foreign militants by a Pakistani official. Yet the Pakistan Tribune reports their identities could not be determined because of their "charred" bodies.

"Panic gripped the area following the attack as unmanned aircraft kept flying over the area till wee hours of Thursday morning," The Pakistan Tribune reports.

U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have touched off nation-wide anger for their high civilian death rate, shroud of secrecy, and what many call violation of sovereignty and self-determination.

In recent weeks, mass protests led by politician and former cricket star Imran Khan, and his Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI), have blockaded NATO supply routes from Afghanistan through Pakistan, forcing the U.S. to halt shipments from Afghanistan.

On Thursday, 150 people near the southwestern city of Quetta briefly blocked NATO supply trucks headed for Afghanistan, with peaceful rallies against drone strikes reportedly continuing throughout the day.

Tasneem Aslam, the spokeswoman for the ministry of foreign affairs declared in a weekly news conference on Thursday, "We will go to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva if the drone strikes continue."

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