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Originally published Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 3:43 AM

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Pakistani officials: US drone kills 3 militants

A U.S. drone strike targeting a vehicle in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border killed three suspected militants, two intelligence officials said Friday.

Associated Press

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan —

A U.S. drone strike targeting a vehicle in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border killed three suspected militants, two intelligence officials said Friday.

A pair of missiles fired from an unmanned drone hit the vehicle in a bazar near the Datta Khel village of North Waziristan tribal region at about midnight Thursday, the officials said.

The suspects were traveling from the border town of Shawal to Datta Khel, a stronghold of local Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the officials added, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The officials said the nationalities and identities of the slain men were not immediately known. Pakistani government and army spokesmen could not be reached for comment.

Drone strikes often cause tension between Washington and Islamabad. They are extremely unpopular in this Islamic nation, where many people believe the drone attacks mostly kill civilians, an allegation disputed by U.S. officials.

The CIA drone strikes have killed scores of suspected al-Qaida and Taliban men in Pakistan's tribal region over the past few years. The secret nature of the program makes it difficult to determine how many civilians are being killed.

Also Friday, a roadside bomb exploded in a bazar in the town of Jafarabad in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, killing five people and wounding 20, senior police officer Zulifquar Larek said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack but Baluch nationalists have waged a decades-long insurgency against the government in the province for greater autonomy and a larger share of the province's natural resources. The province is also home to many radical Islamist militants.

Jafarabad lies about 300 kilometers (180 miles) east of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan.

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Associated Press Writer Abdul Sattar contributed to this report from Quetta.

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