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Suspected U.S. drone targets Islamic seminary in Pakistan

A suspected U.S. drone fired on an Islamic seminary in Pakistan's northwestern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa early on Thursday, killing at least five people, police said.

Pakistan publicly opposes U.S. drone strikes, saying they kill too many civilians and violate its sovereignty, although in private officials admit the government broadly supports them.

Fareed Khan, a police officer, said the unmanned aircraft fired at least three rockets at the madrassa in the Hangu district, killing two teachers and three students just before sunrise on Thursday.

An intelligence source told Reuters separately that Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of Taliban-linked Haqqani network, was spotted at the seminary two days earlier.

Most drone strikes occur in the lawless North Waziristan region where Taliban insurgents are holed up, and are rare in densely populated places like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The attack took place a day after Pakistan's foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz was quoted as saying that the United States had promised not to conduct drone strikes while the government tries to engage the Taliban in peace talks.

The United States has not commented on Aziz's remarks.

The previous drone strike in Pakistan on November 1 killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in the militant stronghold of Miranshah in northwest Pakistan, in an attack denounced by Pakistan.

The identities of those killed on Thursday were not immediately clear. Militants often visit seminaries to consult their spiritual leaders as well as to recruit new fighters.

[Source: Reuters, Dera Ismail Khan, Pak, 20Nov13]

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small logoThis document has been published on 21Nov13 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.