Suspected US drone 'kills five' in Pakistan

Saba Eitizaz reports:: Pakistan's foreign office condemned the strike

A US drone strike has killed at least five people in an Islamic seminary in Pakistan's north-western Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, officials say.

At least two of the dead were militants, officials said. Students and clerics were also reported killed.

This is the second drone strike outside tribal areas, where most such attacks have been focused in recent years.

It comes three weeks after Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack.

Police named the two suspected Afghan militants killed as Mufti Hameedullah and Mufti Ahmad Jan, both thought to be members of the Haqqani network, which attacks targets and Western troops inside Afghanistan from its bases on Pakistan's side of the border.

Police official Zia Khan told the Associated Press news agency that others killed were students and teachers.

Officials earlier put the number of dead at eight.

The seminary in the Tall area of Hangu district was struck by three missiles, officials said.

Reports say the seminary is known to be visited by senior members of the Haqqani network.

The US has long demanded that Pakistan take action against the Haqqani network, which it blames for an attack on the US embassy in Kabul in 2011.

On Wednesday, Pakistan said the US had given assurances that there would be no further drone strikes while the government tried to engage with the Taliban.

Pakistani officials were angered by the attack that killed Hakimullah Mehsud in North Waziristan, because they said it came a day before they planned to invite him to hold peace talks.

For nine years, American drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal belt have been deeply unpopular, says the BBC's Shahzeb Jillani in Karachi.

But this latest attack, carried out further away from the remote tribal region and deeper inside Pakistani territory could further complicate relations between Washington and Islamabad, our correspondent adds.

Most of the previous drone attacks have occurred in the North Waziristan region, which is considered a militant stronghold.

In contrast, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is considered a "settled area" of the country and fully part of Pakistan.

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