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Suspected US Drone Attack Targets Militant Hideout in Pakistan

Pakistani officials said a suspected U.S. pilotless aircraft, a Predator drone, fired two missiles at an alleged militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan Wednesday, killing 12 people.

Officials said the attack took place in a remote area of the Orakzai tribal region near the Afghan border.

It came just one day after the leader of Pakistan's Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, claimed responsibility for a deadly assault in Lahore that he said was in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks in the tribal regions. In interviews with news organizations, including VOA, he also threatened attacks against the United States.

In other violence, police said militants fired a rocket in Upper Dir town late Wednesday, killing five policemen.

U.S. officials have said repeatedly that eliminating militant bases in Pakistan's tribal regions is key to winning the war on terror and stabilizing Afghanistan.

An estimated 30 missile strikes have been carried out on suspected al-Qaida and Taliban targets since last year. U.S. military officials never confirm the strikes, which are usually carried out by armed forces and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employees from Afghanistan.

Pakistan's government condemns the drone attacks as counterproductive and a violation of its territorial sovereignty.

Last week, President Barack Obama unveiled a comprehensive new strategy to fight insurgents in Afghanistan and stabilize Pakistan. The new policy includes the deployment of more U.S. troops, training for the Afghan police forces, development for the tribal areas and increased diplomatic efforts.

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