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2 Suspected US Missile Strikes in Pakistan Kill 22

Intelligence officials in Pakistan say two suspected U.S. missile strikes in northwestern Pakistan Friday killed at least 27 people, including a mid-level al-Qaida leader.

In the first attack, officials say two missiles struck a house near Mir Ali town and a vehicle in North Waziristan tribal area.

Intelligence officials and local residents say the strike killed a foreign al-Qaida militant who went by the name Abu Akasha, also known as Abdur Rehman al-Iraqi, who helped carry out attacks in Afghanistan. He was among 20 other foreign militants, including Arabs, killed in the strike.

Officials say about two hours later, two more missiles were fired into a house in South Waziristan near Wana from what is believed to be a U.S. unmanned (drone) aircraft. Officials said at least seven people, including foreign fighters, were killed in that raid.

The strikes come just two days after Pakistan summoned the U.S. ambassador to formally protest U.S. missile attacks on Pakistani territory.

The number of strikes has increased over the last two months, straining relations between the two allies.

Earlier Friday, Pakistani officials said a suicide bomber killed at least nine people, including himself, outside the office of a top police chief in northwestern Pakistan.

At least five police officers and three civilians were among those killed in the attack in the town of Mardan. More than 25 people were wounded.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Mardan is near the area where Pakistani forces have been battling Taliban and al-Qaida militants for months.

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