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September 01, 2012

Gunmen Kill 7 Shi'ite Muslims in Pakistan

by VOA News

Pakistani police say gunmen have shot dead seven Shi'ite Muslims in the troubled southwestern province of Baluchistan.

The incident took place Saturday near the provincial capital, Quetta.

A police official says gunmen on motorcycles stopped a bus and shot dead five of the passengers, then killed two other Shi'ites in the same area.

Baluchistan is home to pro-Taliban factions and other militant groups including Baluch separatists, who have been fighting for political autonomy and a greater share of the profits from the region's natural resources.

Earlier Saturday, a U.S. drone strike killed at least four suspected militants in Pakistan's restive tribal region, near the Afghan border.

Security officials say the drones fired at least four missiles at a house in the Degan area of North Waziristan, a known stronghold of al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Authorities say the targeted area is dominated by the Hafiz Gul Bahadur militant group.   

Drone strikes are a contentious issue between the U.S. and Pakistan.  Pakistan says the strikes violate its sovereignty, but the United States believes they are a key tool in the effort to defeat al-Qaida.

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