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Suspected US Drone Strike Kills 19 in Pakistan

July 06, 2012

Pakistani officials say a U.S. drone strike has killed at least 19 suspected militants in the country's northwest.

Friday's strike took place near Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal region -- a known hub of Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants.

Officials said foreigners were among those killed when missiles hit a compound in the area. It was one of deadliest suspected U.S. strikes and the first such attack since Pakistan re-opened NATO supply lines into Afghanistan following a seven-month shutdown.

Pakistan closed the routes after a coalition airstrike mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani troops near the Afghan border last November.

After the cross-border attack, Pakistan's parliament reviewed the country's terms of future engagement with the United States and demanded an end to drone strikes on its territory as well as an unconditional apology for the attack that killed Pakistani troops.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement Tuesday, saying the United States "is sorry for the Pakistani military's losses." Pakistan later reopened the supply routes.

On Friday, hundreds of Islamists in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, and the southern port city of Karachi, protested the reopening of the supply lines.

Members of the Jamaat-e-Islami party chanted anti-American slogans and marched along the roadway in Karachi, where many of the shipments originate.

The head of the JI party in Karachi, Mohammad Hussain Mehnati told reporters "we will prove to Pakistani rulers, America and the world that the decision is against Pakistan, the restoration of NATO supplies is against Muslims. And the people of Pakistan reject this decision and we vow to continue our struggle until the reversal of the decision."

The demonstrations came a day after the first NATO supply trucks crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan.

Drivers continue to express concerns about their security, demanding that the government provide additional protection. The Pakistani Taliban has vowed to attack the convoys.

Elsewhere in Pakistan, suspected rebels in the southwestern province of Baluchistan opened fire on a bus in the Turbat district, killing at least 18 passengers.

Officials say the bus was carrying people bound for Iran when it was attacked on Friday.

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