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Pakistan missile attack kills 10, militants parade troops

Pentagon says US military not involved in Pakistan missile strike
The Pentagon said Friday it had no information that the US military was involved in a missile strike in Pakistan. "There is no information this morning that the US military was involved in this incident," said Bryan Whitman, adding that he spoke only for the Defense Department and not other US government agencies. Two missiles struck a pro-Taliban militant camp in North Waziristan, killing at least 10 militants, according to residents of the village.

No US plans to suspend military aid to Pakistan: Pentagon
The United States has no plans to suspend military aid to Pakistan in response to a declaration of emergency by President Pervez Musharraf, a Pentagon spokesman said Saturday. "At this point, the declaration does not impact on our military support for Pakistan's efforts in the war on terror," said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, adding that he had no sense that a review of US military aid to Pakistan is imminent. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was en route to China, had no immediate plans to contact his counterpart in Pakistan about the move announced by Musharraf, Morrell told reporters traveling with Gates. "Obviously, the stakes are high there," he said. "Pakistan is a very important ally in the war on terror. And he is closely following developments there," he said, referring to Gates. "This is something that was closely followed throughout the week. It's been clear from multiple people in our government that we're disappointed by General Musharraf's decision to declare a state of emergency," he said.
by Staff Writers
Miranshah, Pakistan (AFP) Nov 2, 2007
A missile strike on a pro-Taliban militant camp in Pakistan's tribal belt killed 10 people Friday, as rebels in another area paraded 48 men said to be troops captured during fierce clashes.

The unrest heightens pressure on President Pervez Musharraf, a key US ally in the 'war on terror,' to tackle Al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents cementing their grip over northwestern Pakistan and its troubled tribal belt.

Musharraf held talks with visiting US Central Command chief Admiral William Fallon in Islamabad on Friday at about the same time as the missile attack in the Islamist stronghold of North Waziristan bordering Afghanistan.

Residents said drones flew over the village of Danday Darpakhel before two missiles hit, one of which destroyed a house formerly owned by Mullah Dadullah, the late Taliban military commander killed in Afghanistan in May 2007.

It was not clear who fired the missiles. Pakistan's army said it was not involved while the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, the only force known to operate drones in the area, said it was not aware of any activity.

"There was a roar in the sky, we feared it was an air raid but we saw no jets. Then there was a huge blast," Noor Mohammad, a student at a religious school in the region's nearby main town of Miranshah, told AFP.

Missile attacks have claimed the lives of several militants in Pakistan's volatile tribal belt. A US Predator drone targeted Al-Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in January 2006, killing several rebels but missing him.

Local sources said at least 10 militants were killed and 11 others wounded in Friday's blast. Two foreigners -- usually associated with Al-Qaeda in the tribal regions -- were among the dead, they said, quoting injured rebels.

They said the house was used as a training camp by insurgents loyal to Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of Pakistan-based Taliban militants who have been blamed for a string of suicide attacks that have killed 400 people since July.

In the latest incident a bomber struck an air force bus on Thursday, killing eight people, while a twin suicide attack on former premier Benazir Bhutto's homecoming on October 18 killed 139 people.

The violence in the lawless tribal belt has been spreading into 'mainland' Pakistan, with security forces clashing with followers of a pro-Taliban cleric calling for Islamic law in the northwestern tourist spot of Swat this week.

Masked rebels in Swat on Friday paraded 48 men who said they were paramilitary troops who had surrendered after their hilltop position was surrounded.

The Islamist fighters freed the men later Friday and gave each of them 500 rupees (eight dollars). Pakistani military and government spokesmen had earlier denied that any troops were captured.

"We had exhausted our rations and ammunition. We had no option but to surrender," one of the captured men, who did not give his name and like the others was not wearing his uniform, told reporters in the town of Charbagh.

Pakistan moved 2,500 troops into Swat last week to counter cleric Maulana Fazlullah, also known as "Mullah Radio" for his speeches on his private radio station, in which he calls for a holy war on the authorities.

Fazlullah, who runs a banned group that sent thousands of fighters into Afghanistan after the US-led invasion to topple the Taliban in late 2001, is demanding the imposition of strict Islamic Sharia law in Swat.

The militants have taken control of several villages in the scenic Swat Valley, which was once best known for its ancient Buddhist heritage and relics, and set up checkpoints.

The violence has fuelled fears that military ruler Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, may impose an emergency or even martial law in the face of mounting political opposition and a hostile Supreme Court.

The court is due to rule in the coming two weeks on appeals against Musharraf's contested victory in an October 6 presidential vote.

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Analysis: Israel ups airline defenses
Haifa, Israel (UPI) Nov 1, 2007
Israel will fortify its commercial airplanes with new, laser-based missile-defense technology designed by Elbit subsidiary El-Op, the company announced this month.







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