Pakistan drone strike kills seven in North Waziristan


A suspected US drone attack has killed seven people in northwest Pakistan, officials say.

Two missiles hit a compound in a village in the North Waziristan tribal area, close to the Afghan border.

It is the first drone strike since Nawaz Sharif took over as Pakistan's prime minister and demanded an end to the attacks.

The government summoned a senior US diplomat, Richard Hoagland to protest over the attack.

The foreign ministry said it strongly condemned the drone attacks, which were a "violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Last month President Obama announced stricter targeting rules for the drone campaign against militant suspects.

The missiles reportedly hit the remote village of Shokhel in the Shawal valley, some 45km (27 miles) west of Miranshah - the main town in North Waziristan.

The troubled border region is a known stronghold for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

'Just' killings

It is unclear who the target of the attack was, but several militant groups have camps in the area, including the Pakistan Taliban whose deputy leader was killed in a drone strike last week, the BBC's Pakistan correspondent Orla Guerin reports.

The timing will be uncomfortable for the country's new prime minister, our correspondent adds.

Earlier this week, Mr Sharif said Pakistan's sovereignty must be respected, and that it was necessary to work out a joint strategy to stop US drone strikes.

"We must learn others' [American] concerns about us, and express our concerns about them, and find a way to resolve this issue," he told MPs in his first address after being re-elected.

"These drone strikes that rain in every day have to stop."

Mr Sharif, who was ousted in a 1999 coup, is serving an unprecedented third term as PM.

The drone issue is hugely controversial in Pakistan, where parts of the government and military have often been accused of ignoring or even condoning some of the drone strikes.

It is estimated that between 2004 and 2013, CIA drone attacks in Pakistan killed up to 3,460 people.

About 890 of them were civilians and the vast majority of strikes were carried out under the Obama's administration, the research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism said.

In May, the US president said the drone strikes were part of a legitimate campaign against terrorists, describing the killings as "legal" and "just".

However, he also pledged a more transparent oversight of the programme and stricter targeting rules.

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