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Suspected US Drones Kill 9 in Pakistan

Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike has killed nine people in northwest Pakistan.

Authorities say at least four missiles hit near two villages west of Wana, a major town near the Afghan border in Pakistan's South Waziristan region.

Suspected U.S. drones are reported to have launched at least 30 missile attacks in Pakistan since the middle of last year, despite public objections by the Pakistani government.

The targeted South Waziristan region is believed to be home to many al-Qaida and Taliban leaders.

Pakistan's military said Tuesday that it is preparing for a new military offensive in South Waziristan against Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Mehsud is one of the most wanted militants in Pakistan for scores of attacks against government and civilian targets.  He is also believed to be a key facilitator for al-Qaida fighters in the country.

Reports from South Waziristan say some residents have fled their homes in anticipation of violence.  An estimated 2.5 million people already have fled fighting in Pakistan's northwest since the military began battling Taliban fighters in the greater Swat valley more than a month ago.


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


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