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Pakistani Officials Report 5 Dead in Suspected US Missile Strike


Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected unmanned U.S. aircraft fired missiles in a northwestern tribal area Wednesday, killing at least five people.

The officials say several missiles struck a compound in the militant stronghold of South Waziristan, near the Afghan border. Three other people were wounded in the attack.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. military chief met with top Pakistani officials in Islamabad, in an effort to ease tensions over recent U.S. missile strikes on Pakistani territory. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, told Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and General Ashfaq Kayani that the United States respects Pakistan's sovereignty.

The United States says insurgents based in Pakistan are staging attacks in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops are based.

Speaking from Kabul, Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. will cooperate with Pakistan to disrupt the militant safe havens.

A Pakistani military official today rejected recent media reports that Pakistan has ordered its troops to fire on aircraft if there are any future cross-border incursions. Instead, the official told VOA that Pakistan's army reserves the right to retaliate in self-defense against any foreign aggression.

In a separate development, Pakistani officials say government troops backed by fighter jets targeted militant hideouts in the Bajaur tribal region today, killing at least 10 insurgents.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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