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Pakistani air defenses downed a U.S. drone early on Wednesday
Pakistani air defenses downed a U.S. drone early on Wednesday in the northwestern South Waziristan region of the country, near the Afghan border, the Tolo TV channel said.

Dawn News, a Pakistani TV channel, said the wreckage of the unmanned device was found some 8 km (5 miles) away from Angor Adda, a village where U.S. troops reportedly launched an anti-militant ground operation on September 3. According to Pakistani sources, the operation left 20 people dead, including women and children. Another suspected U.S. strike killed 6 people in the same region last week.

The Pakistani military said in a statement that an unmanned surveillance aerial vehicle had crash landed in Pakistan "apparently due to malfunctioning." It did not identify the drone as belonging to the U.S.

The Al Jazeera news agency quoted a Pentagon official as saying that the CIA had no information regarding the downing of a U.S. drone.

The news comes at a time of rising tensions between Washington and Islamabad over U.S. incursions into the Asian country's border regions with Afghanistan. Widespread media reports say that U.S. President George Bush has recently given the go-ahead for military operations in Pakistan without the consent of the Pakistani authorities.

Pakistani authorities have pledged to defend "at all costs" the sovereign territory of the country.

Local residents and Pakistani security officials have also said this week that Pakistani troops recently fired at U.S. helicopters, forcing them back into Afghanistan. The U.S. military has denied the reports.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told the NBC televisions channel on Wednesday that incursions by the U.S. military into Pakistan served to increase anti-American sentiments in the country, and said that raids against Taliban militants in the area should be carried out by Pakistani forces.

"Give us the intelligence, and we will do the job," he said. "It's far better done by our forces than yours."

The previously obscure Fidayeen-e-Islam group has claimed responsibility for the blast at the Islamabad Marriott hotel on Saturday that killed more than 50 people, saying American involvement in Pakistan must end if further violence is to be avoided.

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