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14 dead in Pakistan in suspected drone strike

  • Story Highlights
  • Eight militants among 14 killed in suspected U.S. drone strike, Taliban says
  • Missile strike occured in South Waziristan in Pakistan's tribal region
  • Spokesman said two missiles struck house used as jihadi center
  • Region has seen sharp spike in number of suspected U.S. drone attacks
From Janullah Hashimzada
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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (CNN) -- Eight Taliban militants were among 14 people who died in a missile strike Tuesday along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesman said Wednesday.

The attack, believed to be a strike by an unmanned U.S. drone, took place in South Waziristan, which is part of Pakistan's tribal region, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Local officials said Tuesday that 10 Taliban militants were killed and three were wounded. But Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq said eight Taliban militants and six locals were killed.

Tariq said two missiles struck a house used as a jihadi center in Kani Kurram.

On Tuesday, a Pakistani intelligence official said an unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at a militant camp in the mountain town of Kanniguram.

Another Pakistani official said the target was a house used by militants, belonging to Pakistan's Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud. Pakistani and U.S. officials believe Mehsud was likely killed by a CIA missile strike last week. The Taliban denied it Tuesday.

The region has seen a sharp spike in the number of aerial attacks carried out by suspected unmanned U.S. drones on what are believed to be Taliban targets.

The United States routinely offers no comment on reported cross-border strikes from Afghanistan. However, the United States is the only country operating in the region known to have the capability to launch missiles from drones, which are controlled remotely.

Pakistan has complained the attacks have claimed hundreds of civilian lives.

Meanwhile, at least 70 people were killed and dozens more were wounded Wednesday when Taliban militants attacked strongholds of a rival group, a Pakistani intelligence official told CNN.

The official told CNN that hundreds of Taliban militants stormed the villages of Shunza and Heech in the Janola area of South Waziristan early Wednesday morning, and attacked supporters of Haji Turkistan Betani -- a militant who is against the Taliban.

Most of those killed were Betani supporters, the official said. Dozens of others were wounded and about 30 houses were torched.

Locals put the death toll higher, at 100, and said the fighting continued hours after it began.

A second Pakistani intelligence official confirmed the clashes but could not give a death toll, saying only that "many" had been killed and dozens of houses had been burned.

The official said local law enforcement used heavy weaponry to help Betani supporters fight back against the Taliban militants.

A Taliban commander also confirmed the fighting, saying that Taliban forces attacked Betani supporters' houses. The commander said the Taliban would "kill them and finish them."

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