Suspected U.S. drone kills four in Pakistan

Marchers protest recent U.S. missile strikes on the Pakistani tribal areas.
A suspected missile strike from a U.S. Predator drone killed at least four people in a house in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region early Saturday.

The attack, which occurred in the Mir Ali subdivision in the village of Ali Khel, was one of several to hit the country Saturday. Six people were injured in Saturday’s attack, the fourth suspected U.S. strike on Pakistani soil in November. The names of the victims have not been released. It is also not known why the house was targeted. Elsewhere, three people were killed and 11 were injured in an explosion inside a mosque in northwest Pakistan’s tribal region, a government official said. The explosion happened just after 4 p.m. (6 a.m. ET), leaving the Hangu district mosque inside Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province in ruins, said Omer Faraz Khan, deputy superintendent of Hangu. He said rescuers were trying to save people trapped under the debris. It was not immediately clear how many people were inside the mosque at the time of the blast. Police were investigating the explosion, which was detonated using a homemade timer, Khan said.

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Hours later, three bombs exploded about 10 p.m. (noon ET) outside a stadium in Lahore where a music festival was being held, police Inspector Muntzir Kazmi said. A 13-year-old was injured, but it was unknown whether the victim was a boy or girl. This week, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson to lodge a formal protest against another suspected U.S. missile strike on its territory, an act Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called a violation of his nation’s sovereignty. Watch Gilani say his country has had enough of U.S. attacks Wednesday’s strike in the Bannu region of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province left five dead and seven wounded. That attack was farther inside Pakistani territory than previous attacks. The attack targeted a home outside the tribal areas that U.S. intelligence says have become a haven for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters battling U.S. and NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan. The U.S. government has not acknowledged hitting targets within Pakistan, an ally in the war on al Qaeda launched after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. However, Pakistan’s government has repeatedly complained about the strikes. Gilani took to the floor of the parliament and renewed his condemnation of the attacks Thursday but added that he thinks they will be controlled when President-elect Barack Obama takes office. In October, the foreign ministry summoned Patterson to lodge a “strong” protest on continuing missile attacks and said they should be stopped immediately. At the time, a missile strike from a suspected U.S. drone on a compound in South Waziristan killed 20 people. Pakistan’s government said the attacks cost lives and undermine public support for its counterterrorism efforts. The U.S.-led coalition and NATO, based in Afghanistan, have been seeking a way to effectively battle militants who are launching attacks from Pakistan’s swath of tribal areas along the border.

They have become frustrated with Islamabad over the years, saying it is not being active enough against militants, a claim Pakistan denies. 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.