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9 suspected militants killed in drone strike in Pakistan

By Nasir Habib, CNN
updated 9:07 PM EST, Tue January 8, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • At least 41 suspected militants have been killed in the tribal region in the past week
  • The drone in Tuesday's strike fired four missiles, Pakistani intelligence officials said
  • Despite claims to the contrary, U.S. officials say civilian casualties are rare

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A drone strike on a militant hideout in northwestern Pakistan early Tuesday killed nine suspected militants, two Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the drone fired four missiles at the hideout in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, one of seven districts in Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

North Waziristan is known as a militant hub and has been targeted frequently by suspected U.S. drone strikes for years.

A suspected U.S. drone strike killed 17 people and wounded three Sunday in Babar Ziarat, which borders the Pakistani provinces of North and South Waziristan, Pakistani intelligence officials said. Those killed and injured in the strike were believed to be militants, the officials said.

Last week, two suspected U.S. drone strikes in the same area killed 15 people, including a Taliban commander with ties to the Pakistani military.

Taliban commander Mullah Nazir, also known as Maulvi Nazir Wazir, was killed in that strike Thursday in South Waziristan, officials said.

Many residents of the region say the strikes have killed dozens of civilians, including children and women. U.S. officials say the drone strikes are an effective strategy against militant groups and insist civilian casualties are rare.

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