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Pakistani Official Says Three Killed In Suspected U.S. Drone Strike

FILE: A child sifts through rubble at a destroyed religious seminary belonging to the Haqqani network after a U.S. drone strike in the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in November 21. The regions borders Kurram.

A regional official in Pakistan says a suspected U.S. drone strike targeting a house used by militants has killed three people in the northwest of the country.

Baseer Khan Wazir, senior administrator of the Kurram tribal district along the border with Afghanistan, said the drone fired two missiles on September 15.

Reuters quoted Afghan Taliban sources as saying the attack targeted a Haqqani network militant.

"Two missiles were dropped on the home of Maulvi Mohib, and three people have been killed," Wazir said.

Voice of America reported, citing tribal sources, that Mohib, a local cleric, was a loyalist of the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, which is allied with Afghan Taliban insurgents.

The U.S.-led international force battling the Taliban in Afghanistan had no immediate information on the report.

If confirmed, it would be the first U.S. drone strike inside Pakistan since President Donald Trump outlined a new strategy for Afghanistan and pushed officials in Islamabad to ratchet up activities against Haqqani militants.

Pakistan denies there are any militant havens within its borders, and relations between Washington and Islamabad have been strained in recent years amid U.S. counterterrorism efforts along the border region -- even though U.S. drone attacks inside Pakistan have become rare in recent years.

The last high-profile target of a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan was Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur, who was killed in a 2016 operation.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, AP, and Voice of America

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