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Pakistan protests deep missile attack

November 21, 2008
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan protested to the US ambassador yesterday over a deep cross-border missile strike, and a militant group threatened to target foreigners unless the attacks stop.

Pakistani intelligence officials say the United States has staged some 20 missile strikes on Pakistani territory since August, almost all aimed at the tribal region along the Afghan border. But on Wednesday, the missiles hit deeper inside Pakistan. Six suspected insurgents were killed.

The strikes have strained relations between the allies, who are fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban militants blamed for attacks on US and NATO troops in Afghanistan as well as within Pakistan.

Pakistan, which called the attack a "great provocation," said the US strikes undermine public support for fighting insurgents.

The Foreign Ministry summoned US Ambassador Anne Patterson to protest the strike, the second time she has been called in since August.

"It was underscored . . . that such attacks were a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty," a ministry statement said.

Also yesterday, militant leader Hafiz Gul Bahadur warned his men would launch suicide attacks on foreigners and government targets around the country unless the raids stop.

"The Pakistani government is clearly involved in these attacks by American spy planes so we will target government interests as well," Bahadur's spokesman, Ahmedullah Ahmedi, said.

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