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Militants killed in Pakistan drone strike

By the CNN Wire Staff
January 13, 2012 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
A suspected U.S. drone fired missiles at two vehicles in North Waziristan killing at least eight militants.
A suspected U.S. drone fired missiles at two vehicles in North Waziristan killing at least eight militants.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The slain people were Turkmenistani nationals
  • The strike occurred in North Waziristan
  • Ties between Pakistan and the United States have been tense lately
  • There had been a pause in hits after a November strike

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region killed at least eight militants Thursday, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

A suspected U.S. drone fired missiles at two vehicles in North Waziristan, the second attack by unmanned aircraft on militant targets this week following a lull.

Both strikes occurred near Miranshah, a volatile region in the country's tribal belt that borders Afghanistan. The drone on Tuesday fired two missiles at a suspected militant compound.

The slain militants in the Thursday strike were Turkmenistani nationals, the officials said. One of the targeted vehicles was carrying explosives material.

There had been a pause in U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan after a set of controversial American strikes left two dozen Pakistani soldiers dead at two mountainous border posts and further strained relations between the two nations.

Pakistan's military has repeatedly insisted that the airstrikes that killed 24 of its soldiers on November 26 near the Afghan border were deliberate. Its government soon thereafter ordered the American military to vacate an air base used to launch drone strikes.

A U.S. investigation into the attacks blamed poor communication and "inadequate coordination" between both nations for prompting the deadly incident.

But Pakistani officials have argued that well-established operating procedures and an intricate system for operational information sharing were deliberately ignored, which led to the deaths.

The disagreement is thought to have further eroded the already-fragile relations between the United States and Pakistan.

Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit reiterated Pakistan's position to reporters Thursday that "attacks on Pakistan's sovereignty and the collateral damage caused by drone attacks are unacceptable."

CNN's Nasir Habib and Journalist Saboor Khattak contributed to this report

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