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First drone strike in Pakistan since protest march kills 5, officials say

Demonstrators marched to the border of Pakistan's tribal region over the weekend to protest drone strikes.

Story highlights

  • Four missiles are fired at a suspected militant hideout, intelligence officials say
  • It was the first drone strike since a protest march at the weekend against the attacks
  • The strike took place in a district of Pakistan's volatile tribal region

A suspected U.S. drone attack killed five people early Wednesday in Pakistan's tribal region that borders Afghanistan, two Pakistani intelligence officials said.

It was the first drone strike since demonstrators marched to the border of Pakistan's tribal region over the weekend to protest the attacks. Activists from the United States and Britain participated in the march, which was led by the cricket star turned politician Imran Khan.

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Four missiles were fired Wednesday at a suspected militant hideout in the area of Mir Ali of North Waziristan, one of the seven districts of the volatile tribal region, the two intelligence officials said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the matter to the news media.

The protest march against U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan came to a halt on Sunday when authorities used steel shipping containers and security forces to block access to the demonstration's final destination in the tribal region.

When confronted with the roadblock, Khan directed protesters to turn back, saying the march had achieved its goal of drawing attention to the controversial U.S. drone strikes.

Read more: U.S. activists in Pakistan to protest drone strikes

Khan has been a fierce critic of U.S. policy in Pakistan and the use of drone strikes, calling them a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and a strategy that stokes militant anger towards Washington.

In recent years, the U.S. government has sharply stepped up the use of drone attacks in Pakistan's mostly ungoverned tribal region, widely believed to be a safe haven for militant groups fueling the insurgency in Afghanistan. U.S. officials say the drone strikes are an effective strategy against militant groups and insist civilian casualties are rare.

Read more: U.S. study says drones kill, traumatize too many civilians

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