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US drone strike hits mosque; 10 killed

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A U.S. drone strike hit a village mosque in northwest Pakistan Thursday morning, killing at least 10 people, a Pakistani official and witnesses told NBC News.

Local tribesmen said ten bodies were pulled from the debris and that efforts were underway to retrieve others, NBC News reported.

“The drone fired two missiles and hit the village mosque where a number of people were offering Fajr (morning) prayer,” local tribal elder Roashan Din told NBC News.

A Pakistani security official based in the area said the drone hit the mosque in the Hasukhel area of Mir Ali in North Waziristan. 

“The drone fired two missiles and pounded a house,” a local administration official in Mir Ali told NBC News. “Four U.S. spy planes are flying over the area.”

The official said the house was reportedly used by suspected foreign and Punjabi Taliban militants. Officials told Reuters that a pilotless aircraft fired the two missiles, although the news agency described the targeted structure as a “compound.”

Britain’s Channel 4 News also reported that a small mosque was hit. “Locals & militants, including foreigners, were praying at time,” Channel 4′s foreign news editor Ben de Pear posted on his Twitter account Thursday.

Doctors at the Mir Ali hospital said six wounded had been brought in. Among those wounded, one died and four others were in critical condition.

It is the second attack by the U.S. spy planes in two days in the North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border. Wednesday’s drone attack killed four suspected militants.

The United States has been urging Pakistan to mount an offensive in North Waziristan to pursue members of the Haqqani militant network, one of Washington’s most feared foes in neighboring Afghanistan.

U.S. frustrations with Pakistan deepened on Wednesday after Pakistani authorities sentenced a doctor accused of helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden to 33 years in jail on charges of treason.

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