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Pakistan: Suspected U.S. missiles kill 4

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Suspected U.S. missiles killed four people in northwest Pakistan on Friday, the latest in a surge of such attacks since a suicide bomber staged a deadly assault on CIA employees just across the frontier in Afghanistan.

The attack was the sixth in just over a week in North Waziristan, an unusually intense bombardment that also follows repeated calls by the United States for Pakistan to do more against militants there blamed for attacks on American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The area is the stronghold of the Haqqani network, an Afghan Taliban group with links to al-Qaida. Its militants are responsible for cross-border attacks and could have played a role in the Dec. 30 attack that killed seven CIA employees in Khost province, analysts believe.

The U.S. does not comment on the strikes or their targets. It has carried out more than 50 of them since last year, most by unmanned drones believed to have been operated by the CIA with the cooperation of Pakistani intelligence. They have been more common since the Obama administration took over.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials said a pair of missiles Friday evening hit a house and a vehicle in a village near Miran Shah in North Waziristan. They said four people were killed and three injured, but did not identify them. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to the media.

The attacks since last week have killed 31 people, many of them militants, according to Pakistani officials interviewed after the strikes. The area is impossible to visit without the consent of the militants, making independent reporting impossible.

Pakistan's government publicly condemns the drone strikes as violations of its sovereignty, though it is thought that they have a secret deal with Washington allowing them.

Growing violence in Pakistan has not been confined to the country's volatile northwest.

Earlier Friday, eight suspected militants were killed when the explosives they were handling went off prematurely in a house in the southern city of Karachi, authorities said. Officers seized 25 hand grenades, three automatic rifles, and two suicide jackets, police chief Waseem Ahmad said.

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