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Suspected U.S. Missile Hits Pakistan, 10 Said Dead

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) -- A suspected U.S. drone fired a missile into Pakistan's tribal region of Waziristan on the Afghan border, killing 10 people, security officials have said.

It was the latest in a string of nearly 20 suspected strikes by pilotless U.S. drones since the beginning of September, but the first since the U.S. presidential election on November 4.

Pakistan objects to the strikes as not only a violation of its sovereignty, but as counterproductive to its efforts to tackle militants behind surging violence in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A Pakistani intelligence agency official said the strike was on a house in North Waziristan, but a military official said the attack was in South Waziristan. Both regions are Al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries on the Afghan border.

"It happened close to the border. We have reports of 10 dead but it will take time to get more information," a military officer said.

U.S. forces have stepped up attacks on militants in Pakistan in response to concern about worsening security in Afghanistan.

Scores of people have been killed in missile strikes and a September 3 cross-border commando raid, but no top Al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders have been reported to have died.

Nuclear-armed U.S. ally Pakistan is also battling militants on its side of the border, but says cross-border U.S. strikes undermine efforts to isolate the militants and rally public opinion behind the unpopular campaign against them.

The United States has shrugged off Pakistani protests. It says the attacks are needed to protect U.S. troops in Afghanistan and kill Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants who threaten them.

Pakistan is hoping the new U.S. administration will be more sensitive to its concerns.