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Missile fired by a drone kills 4 members of a family in Pakistan near the Afghan border, police say

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — A missile fired by a drone struck a house in a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban in northwestern Pakistan along the Afghan border before dawn Tuesday, killing at least four villagers, including children, police said.

The strike happened in South Waziristan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, local police chief Hidayat Ullah said. He said it was not immediately clear who fired the missile and officers were investigating. The Pakistan army evicted Pakistani Taliban insurgents from the region years ago, but they have been regrouping there.

Those killed in the missile strike were civilians with no known links to the insurgents. Villagers put their bodies on a road near a military camp and protested the killings and demanded information about who was responsible.

Most of the previous drone strikes in the area were carried out by the United States or the Pakistan army.

There was no immediate comment from the government or the military about the strike. The Pakistani Taliban, officially known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, is separate from but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban. It has been emboldened by the Afghan Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021.