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US drone kills 5 militants in Pakistan

Islamabad: A US drone targeted a house in the restive South Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan today, killing five militants in the latest in a series of attacks by the CIA-operated spy planes.

The drone struck in Barmal area of South Waziristan Agency, TV news channels quoted officials as saying.

Five bodies had been pulled out of the house, which caught fire after several missiles slammed into it. Three persons were injured in the attack and officials were quoted as saying that the death toll could rise.

There have been seven drone strikes since May 23.

Most of the strikes have been conducted in North Waziristan Agency, described by US and Afghan officials as a safe haven for Taliban and Al Qaeda elements.

Since yesterday, the drone strikes have focussed on South Waziristan, where the Pakistan Army carried out an operation to flush out the Taliban three years ago.

The US stepped up drone strikes shortly after the conclusion of the NATO Summit in Chicago, where Pakistan did not make any announcement about ending a six-month blockade of supply routes to Afghanistan.

The supply lines were shut after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year.

The drone strikes have added to tensions between the US and Pakistan, which has described the attacks as a violation of its sovereignty and called for them to be stopped.

The US had eased its drone campaign in Pakistan?s tribal areas after a CIA contractor was arrested for shooting and killing two Pakistani men in Lahore early last year and the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May last year.

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