Death toll from Pakistan drone attack rises to 19

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan Sat Jul 7, 2012 4:43pm IST

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MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (Reuters) - The death toll from a drone strike in northeastern Pakistan has risen to 19, Pakistani intelligence officials said on Saturday.

Twelve people were originally reported dead in Friday's strike on a compound in the Dhattakel region in North Waziristan.

Public anger over U.S. drone attacks has helped inflame tensions between Pakistan and the United States.

Friday's strike took place a day after two trucks carried NATO supplies across the border into Afghanistan -- the first shipments since convoys were halted by Pakistan last November.

Pakistanis say the drone attacks kill civilians and encroach on Pakistani sovereignty. The United States says the attacks are highly selective and that few civilians are killed.

The CIA has stepped up operations in North Waziristan in recent weeks. The area is seen as a hub for militants crossing the porous border to fight U.S. forces and their allies in Afghanistan.

The resumption of the cross-border shipments to Afghanistan gave a boost to the uneasy partnership between Pakistan and the United States.

Pakistan agreed to the resumption after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologised for an air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November.

(Reporting By Haji Mujtaba; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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