7 foreign militants killed in US drone attack in northwest Pak

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A Muhammad

Peshawar, Feb 21 (PTI) Seven foreign militants werekilled as the US carried out the first drone strike inPakistan''s restive tribal belt since an American official wasarrested last month for gunning down two men in Lahore,officials said today.

Unmanned spy planes targeted a militant compound inthe volatile South Waziristan tribal region of northwestPakistan early this morning.

The drones fired four missiles at the compound in KaraPanga village near Wana, the headquarters of the region.

All those killed in the drone strike were believed tobe foreign fighters, officials said.

The attack was the first one after US official RaymondDavis was arrested in Lahore on January 27 for shooting andkilling two men who he said were trying to rob him.

A third Pakistani died when he was hit by a USconsulate vehicle rushing to help Davis.

The last drone strike before Davis'' arrest was carriedout on January 23.

Reports said the US had halted attacks with spy planesso that anti-American sentiments would not increase inPakistan in the wake of Davis'' arrest.

Analysts believed the development was also linked toUS attempts to secure the release of Davis.

The CIA had significantly stepped up the missilestrikes in mid-2010 after Western intelligence agenciesuncovered a plot by militants based in Pakistan�s tribal beltto attack European cities.

The arrest of Davis triggered a diplomatic row betweenPakistan and the US, which has insisted that the Americanshould be released on grounds of diplomatic immunity.

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