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Pakistani officials: Suspected U.S. drone strike kills militants hiding in high school

From Shaan Khan, CNN
updated 11:07 AM EDT, Sun April 29, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The strike kills three suspected militants, according to Pakistani intelligence officials
  • A suspected U.S. drone strike hits a high school where militants were hiding, the officials say
  • It comes several weeks after Pakistani lawmakers call for an end to U.S. drone attacks
  • U.S. officials privately they have said the drone strikes are effective

Islamabad (CNN) -- A suspected U.S. drone strike killed three people Sunday at a high school in northern Pakistan where militants were hiding, intelligence officials said.

The drone fired two missiles at the school in the city of Miranshah, killing three suspected militants, the Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The city is located in North Waziristan, one of seven districts in Pakistan's tribal region widely believed to be a haven for militant groups.

It comes several weeks after Pakistani lawmakers approved a list of recommendations that includes a call for an immediate end to U.S. drone attacks.

There has been a sharp drop in the number of drone attacks in Pakistan since a November NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the country's border with Afghanistan, driving U.S.- Pakistan relations to a low point.

Last week U.S. and Pakistani officials met in Pakistan to discuss relations between the two nations in the first in-depth talks since Pakistan's parliament rolled out a set of new guidelines for its relations with the United States, in which it agreed to re-engage with Washington after months of tension.

The list of parliamentary recommendations, approved by lawmakers and announced April 12, said that future relations with the United States should be based on mutual interest, and that no overt or covert operations -- including private security companies or operatives -- will be allowed on Pakistani soil.

U.S. officials rarely discuss the CIA's drone program in Pakistan, though privately they have said the covert strikes are legal and an effective tactic in the fight against extremists.

In January, President Barack Obama defended the use of drone attacks, saying a "pinpoint strike" is "less intrusive" on other countries' sovereignty than other military ways to target al Qaeda.

"Our ability to respect the sovereignty of other countries and to limit our incursions into somebody else's territory is enhanced by the fact that we are able to pinpoint-strike an al Qaeda operative in a place where the capacities of that military in that country may not be able to get them," Obama said.

CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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