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'US strike' kills 18 in Pakistan

A suspected US missile strike in Pakistan's north west has killed at least 18 people, intelligence officials said.

They said six missiles struck two vehicles in the Shera Tala area of the North Waziristan tribal region, and the death toll could rise further.

North Waziristan has been the primary target of a ramped up campaign of American missile strikes fired from drones aimed at taking out al Qaida and Taliban fighters.

The area is a major stronghold for insurgents fighting US and Nato troops across the border in Afghanistan.

At least 110 US missile strikes have been launched this year - more than doubling last year's total.

Shera Tala lies in Mir Ali district, where militants are heavily concentrated. The exact identities of the 18 dead were not immediately clear.

The vehicles were apparently leaving a compound, and one was carrying a large load of ammunition, magnifying the blasts from the missile strikes, the intelligence officials said.

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