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Explosion Destroys Pakistani Militant's House, Kills Seven

An explosion has destroyed the house of a leading Pakistani militant and killed at least seven people.

Militant chief Haji Namdar survived the attack on his house Monday in Pakistan's Khyber tribal region.

Militants say they suspect the building was hit by a missile from neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials have given different explanations about the explosion. Some say it was part of an ongoing security operation, while others deny Pakistani troops fired on the building.

Pakistani troops launched an offensive in the region three days ago to protect the northwestern city of Peshawar from advancing militants.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher today that Pakistan would never negotiate with militants or allow foreigners to use Pakistani soil to attack another country.

But Mr. Gilani said Pakistan would talk to militants who laid down their weapons.

Washington has expressed concern about the new Pakistani government's policy to hold low-level talks with pro-Taliban militants.

A leading U.S. newspaper, The New York Times, reports today that U.S. officials drafted a secret plan last year to make it easier for U.S. special forces to operate in Pakistan's tribal regions. The report says the plan was never carried out.

Outside the Pakistani capital in Rawalpindi today, people reported hearing a large explosion that officials say likely was caused by a sonic boom from a fighter jet.

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