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Drone attack kills six suspected militants in Pakistan school

Islamabad — A drone attack in North Waziristan, Pakistan on Sunday killed six suspected militants, including foreigners, and injured others. The attack targeted a girl’s high school in Miramshah where the militants were living.

It was the first drone attack since Pakistan demanded a complete halt, and was expected to heighten tensions between the United States and Pakistan. Both American and Pakistani officials have told NBC in recent days that the relationship is already at a low point.

Tribal sources and government officials said the militants had taken over a portion of the school and turned it into their compound and training facility.

The sources said a room where six militants were residing had been destroyed.

"The death toll could rise as over two dozen militants were residing in the school building," according to local tribesman Haji Namdar. "Fire broke out immediately after the drone attack and engulfed the building. No one can go there to help and retrieve the bodies and injured from the building as three drones are still flying over Miramshah town."

He said a number of militants had also gathered outside the school building but were unable to go in to help their fellow fighters.

Pakistani officials in recent days repeated their demand for a complete cessation of drone strikes ahead of and during a visit by U.S. Special Representative Marc Grossman to Islamabad. Grossman is leading the first senior delegation to Pakistan since relations were all but cut off in November.

The drone issue has been central to the current impasse. U.S. officials maintain they respect Pakistan's parliamentary process and wish to re-engage in a mutually-beneficial manner — including their most pressing desire to have the NATO supply lines through Pakistan re-opened — but said the U.S. reserved the right to use drones to target militants in the border area.

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