ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The Pakistan government blamed American-led troops in Afghanistan for a cross-border attack that killed at least seven women and children as they prepared to eat breakfast before dawn yesterday, the second day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The attack, which a NATO-spokesman denied, could add pressure on the Pakistani government, which is being asked by the U.S. to do more against terrorists in the mostly lawless tribal areas while many Pakistanis want the army to do less.
A senior U.S. military official confirmed the raid, the first known foreign ground assault against a suspected Taliban haven. Pakistan's government condemned the action, saying it killed at least 15 people. The American official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of cross border operations, said the raid occurred about a mile inside Pakistan. The Washington-based official didn't provide details on casualties.
As if to underscore the challenge Pakistani leaders face, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani escaped what appeared to be an assassination attempt yesterday afternoon. Gunmen fired two shots into his car as the driver was going to pick up Gilani from the airport in neighboring Rawalpindi. No one was injured.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban, the umbrella group for Taliban-led militants in the border areas of Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.
But the bigger crisis for the government yesterday was the attack in a village near the town of Angoor Adda in South Waziristan.
The Pakistani army and Foreign Ministry accused the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan of killing innocent civilians and undermining the joint effort against terrorism.
Maj. Murad Khan, a spokesman for the Pakistani army, said that the Foreign Ministry had protested to the U.S. government and that the Pakistani army reserved the right to retaliate to protect Pakistani citizens.
The raid, described by Pakistani officials as having been carried out by helicopter-borne commandos in a hamlet just on the Pakistan side of the frontier, is likely to inflame tensions at a time when Islamic militants are already threatening to attack Pakistani officials and installations in retaliation for recent strikes against them by Pakistani government forces.
The Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press contributed to this article.