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Angry Pakistan summons envoy after U.S. drone strike kills nine

Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (C) arrives to inspect the guard of honor during a ceremony at the prime minister's res
Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (C) arrives to inspect the guard of honor during a ceremony at the prime minister's res

By Saud Mehsud

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A U.S. drone strike killed nine people in northwest Pakistan, security officials said, prompting newly sworn-in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to summon America's envoy on Saturday to protest against such attacks.

The missile strike, on a compound near the Afghan border in the North Waziristan region late on Friday, was the first U.S. drone attack in Pakistan since Sharif was sworn in on Wednesday. There was no information about the victims.

In his inaugural address, Sharif called for an immediate end to the U.S. drone strikes.

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the demand for an immediate halt to the attacks was repeated on Saturday.

"It was conveyed to the U.S. charge d' affaires that the government of Pakistan strongly condemns the drone strikes, which are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the ministry said in a statement.

"The importance of bringing an immediate end to drone strikes was emphasized."

The attack came 10 days after a similar U.S. strike killed the Pakistani Taliban's second-in-command, Wali-ur-Rehman, and six others in a major blow to the militant group.

President Barack Obama said last month the United States would scale back drone strikes, only using them when a threat was "continuing and imminent".

Drone casualties are difficult to verify. Foreign journalists must have permission from the military to visit the Pashtun tribal areas along the Afghan border. Taliban fighters often seal off the sites of drone strikes immediately.

(Additional reporting by Jibran Ahmed in Peshawar; Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Andrew Roche and Robert Birsel)

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