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Drone Strikes Kill 15 in Pakistan


A Pakistani tribesman from North Waziristan tribal region holds a placard during a protest against U.S. drone strikes near the parliament house in Islamabad on 10, Dec 2010.

A Pakistani tribesman from North Waziristan tribal region holds a placard during a protest against U.S. drone strikes near the parliament house in Islamabad on 10, Dec 2010.

Pakistani authorities say suspected U.S. drone strikes killed at least 15 militants in the northwestern tribal region on Tuesday.

Intelligence officials say U.S. missiles struck a house in the Ghulam Khan area of North Waziristan, killing five militants.

Later, officials say, suspected U.S. drones fired missiles at insurgents in the same area, killing 10 militants, some with the Haqqani network.

The United States considers the Haqqani network a top threat to U.S.-led NATO forces battling insurgents in neighboring Afghanistan.

The strikes targeted an area known as a stronghold for Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida militants who carry out cross-border attacks.

The United States does not confirm drone attacks on Pakistan-based militants, but is the only nation operating the unmanned aircraft in the region. The use of drones are deeply unpopular with the Pakistani public and the government in Islamabad has repeatedly condemned them.

Tuesday's strikes followed a similar attack a day earlier that officials said killed 18 insurgents in North Waziristan. U.S. drones have carried out about 100 missile strikes in Pakistani border regions this year, more than double last year's figure.

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

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