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WANA, Feb 28: Eight suspected militants, four of them Arabs and two from Central Asian states, were killed and three others wounded in a missile attack on a house in Kalosha area of South Waziristan after Wednesday midnight.

Sources said that the militants belonged to the Abu Hamza group whose leader was said to be a follower of local militant commander Maulvi Nazir.

Maulvi Nazir won government’s support after launching an armed campaign against Uzbek militants in the Ahmadzai Wazir area in April last year.

Local people said they heard three loud explosions at about 2am and found the compound destroyed. They said three Turkmen occupants of the compound had been injured in the attack. They believed that missiles fired from Afghanistan might have caused the explosions.

The house belonged to one Shero Wazir of the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe who had rented it out to an Arab.

An official of the political administration said four Arabs, two Turkmens and two people hailing from Punjab had been killed in the air strike.

The sources said the bodies were charred and it was difficult to identify them. They were buried in a graveyard in Kalosha.

A large number of Arabs and other foreigners had been living and doing business in the area for years with local tribal names, the sources said.

A spokesman for Maulvi Nazir denied the killing of Arabs or Turkmens in the attack and said that some Afghans had died. “They were common Afghans and had been living in the area for a few years.” He claimed that missiles had been fired from Afghanistan.

Senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Laith Al Libi was reported to have been killed in a similar missile attack in Mirali, North Waziristan, on Jan 29.

US media reported last week that the Bush administration had reached an agreement with Pakistan to step up secret air strikes on targets in Pakistan.

AFP adds: Residents of Azam Warsak said the house was blown up by a missile fired from a drone and the blast was heard miles away in the valley.

“There was no immediate information about the presence of any high-value target,” an official said.

Armed militants cordoned off the site after the missile strike, residents said. They said four unknown ‘guests’ had arrived late on Wednesday at the house.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition force based in Afghanistan said it had no reports that either it or the Nato-headed force was involved in the strike.

Pakistan’s chief military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas told AFP that information from the area indicated the deaths were caused by explosive material stored in the house.

“As per our information it was an explosion caused by explosive material in a house,” he said, adding that the blast reportedly killed 10 to 12 people. Their nationalities were not known, he said.