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US drone strike kills 8 in Pakistan

16:15 Sat May 5 2012

An American drone fired a volley of missiles into a house close to the Afghan border on Saturday, killing eight suspected militants and indicating US resolve to continue with the controversial attacks despite renewed Pakistani opposition.

The strike in North Waziristan was the second American drone operation in Pakistan this week.

The attacks come amid American efforts to rebuild its relationship with Pakistan, which in November blocked the passage of US and NATO war supplies to neighbouring Afghanistan. The country's parliament has called for an end to the drone strikes, which many here regard as an unacceptable violation of sovereignty.

Up to eight missiles were fired at a house in the Dra Nishtar area of North Waziristan early Saturday, Pakistani intelligence officials said. They didn't give their names because they were not authorised to be named in the media.

America is unwilling to stop the drone attacks because they have weakened al-Qaeda and associated groups in Pakistan's tribal regions, large parts of which are not under the control of the Pakistani state. In the past, Pakistan's intelligence agency has co-operated with the attacks, but the government has not publicly acknowledged this.

North Waziristan is a haven for Islamist militants from many parts of the world. It is also believed to be a key command and control centre for insurgents fighting American troops in neighbouring Afghanistan. The identities and affiliations of those killed on Saturday were not immediately known.

Civilians have also been killed in the drone attacks, but the United States does not publicly investigate or apologise for any mistakes it makes. The frequency of the strikes has significantly dropped this year.