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MIRAMSHAH, Aug 22: A US drone attack on a house near Miramshah in North Waziristan on Tuesday killed six people and injured four others.

According to witnesses, an unmanned plane fired missiles at the house in Shna Khwara, 5km west of Miramshah, the headquarters of the tribal agency. A vehicle parked in the compound was also hit.

This was the fourth drone strike in the area in as many days.

Official sources said the victims were believed to be foreigners. They said the compound, whose owner remains unidentified, had been built in a forest.

A spike in drone strikes and rumours since the weekend about an impending military operation in North Waziristan have forced local people to weigh options of moving to safe places.

A message purportedly emailed by the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan on Tuesday about the start of the military offensive on Aug 26 triggered fear among people and at least 10 families left Miramshah for Bannu district.

Some families had earlier moved to Afghanistan.

Senior military commanders and officials denied reports about the offensive.

An officer looking after the administrative affairs in North Waziristan said: “This is a highly sensitive subject and has never been discussed.”

On the other hand, private TV channels quoted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Masood Kausar as saying the army was fully prepared and the political leadership would decide about an operation in North Waziristan.

The TTP spokesman claimed in his message that the army had prepared a plan and was likely to launch the operation on Aug 26. He said the TTP had made preparations to counter the offensive.