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Suspected US Missile Strike Kills Pakistani Villagers

US regional commander General David Petraeus is warned that attacks are undermining public support

Haroon Siddique and agencies

A suspected US missile strike killed at least eight people in Pakistan
today, just days after America's new military commander for the region,
General David Petraeus, was warned by Pakistan to stop rocket attacks
on its soil.

Islamabad has been incensed by a surge in attacks close to Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, which Petraeus says have eliminated three militant leaders.

latest suspected cross-border attack took place in Kam Sam village in
the North Waziristan region, a stronghold of Taliban and al-Qaida
militants blamed for attacks on US troops in Afghanistan and rising
violence within Pakistan.

One Pakistani security official said 10 people died. Another put the toll at eight. The identity of the victims was not clear.

US aircraft are believed to have carried out at least 18 missile
strikes in Pakistan's lawless border area since August.

On his
first international trip since being installed as head of US central
command for the region, Petraeus was warned by Pakistani President Asif
Zardari on Monday that US drone attacks were creating a "credibility

Pakistani leaders say the raids undermine public support for their own anti-terror efforts.

his visit, Petraeus said he would "take on board" the views expressed
in Islamabad but offered no guarantee that the attacks would stop.

The general told The Associated Press yesterday that drone strikes had killed three "extremist leaders" in recent months.

officials blame insurgents crossing the border from Pakistan for the
resurgence of the Taliban this year - the deadliest in Afghanistan
since the 2001 invasion.

The US rarely confirms or denies firing
the missiles and the identities of those killed are rarely confirmed.
Villagers frequently say civilians are among the dead.

Pakistan army is currently embroiled in an offensive against militants
in Bajur, another part of the border region. It says attempts to
persuade local tribes to join the fight are being hampered by the anger
generated by US missile strikes.

Pakistani helicopters and jets
killed 17 suspected militants and wounded 10 others in Bajur late
yesterday, said Jamil Khan, the number two government representative in
the semi-autonomous area.

Hours earlier, two suicide attacks
targeting pro-government tribesmen and security forces killed at least
19 people and wounded dozens more.

One of them struck in Bajur,
killing 17 pro-government Salarzai tribesmen who had formed a militia
to combat insurgents. Forty other people were hurt, officials said.

the nearby Swat Valley, a suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into a
checkpoint near a police compound, killing at least two paramilitary
troops and wounding 20 other people, officials said.

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