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Missiles kill 12 in Pakistan

Khan writes for the Associated Press.

Suspected U.S. missiles killed 12 people in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, and gunmen wounded a Japanese journalist elsewhere in the Al Qaeda stronghold.

Twenty insurgents were killed by Pakistani military attack helicopters.

Several of those killed in the missile strike close to the Afghan border were foreign militants, intelligence officials said, but there was no immediate indication that they were senior figures.

The U.S. is suspected of having launched 19 missiles from unmanned drone aircraft based in neighboring Afghanistan since mid-August, killing scores of suspected extremists but angering the Pakistani government.

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The attacks are aimed at Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders hiding in the region and are blamed for rising violence in Afghanistan.

Under fire from the missiles and a Pakistani military offensive, the militants have hit back with suicide bombings, abductions and assassinations.

The Japanese journalist, Motoki Yotsukura of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, was traveling with an Afghan colleague in a car in the northwestern regional capital, Peshawar, when a gunman opened fire, wounding both men and their Pakistani driver, police said.

“Three armed men intercepted our car, and one of them aimed his pistol at me,” said the Afghan, Sami Yousufzai, from the hospital. “He opened fire when I put up resistance. I got a bullet in my hand.”

Yotsukura was wounded in the leg, said police officer Mohammed Khan. Neither of the three men’s injuries were life-threatening.

Security appears to be crumbling in Peshawar, a city of 2 million that was a staging ground for U.S.-supported jihadi groups fighting Soviet rule in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

About 12 miles from the city, Pakistani army helicopters killed 20 suspected militants in several villages, Police Chief Mohammed Suleman said.

Meanwhile, Canada’s foreign affairs department confirmed that a Canadian woman had been abducted in Pakistan.

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Canadian newspapers have reported that Beverly Giesbrecht, 52, of Vancouver, British Columbia, was on a freelance reporting assignment when she was kidnapped in northern Pakistan on Tuesday.

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Bashirullah Khan in Miran Shah and Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan contributed to this report.


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