US missiles suspected in northwest Pakistan strike

A suspected US missile killed seven people in a Taliban stronghold in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, officials said, while a hard-line cleric rattled peace efforts elsewhere by demanding the government launch Islamic courts within two weeks. The developments showed the mercurial state of the fight against insurgents in Pakistan's regions bordering Afghanistan, where the country is pursuing both peace talks and military offensives, and where the Obama administration appears more than willing to flex US muscle despite official Pakistani protests. The missiles landed in Murghiban village in the South Waziristan tribal region and also wounded three people, two Pakistani intelligence officials said. At least four of the dead were believed to be foreign militants, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media. They said that drones believed to be used by the US were seen in the air ahead of the strike and that Taliban fighters surrounded the damaged center afterward. The compound was allegedly a militant training facility, the officials said, citing field informants.