MIRAMSHAH: At least four suspected militants were killed when a US drone fired two missiles at a compound near Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal agency of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, DawnNews reported late Wednesday night.
The attack took place around midnight in Qutab Khel village, five kilometres (three miles) south of Miramshah.
News agency AFP, however, reported three deaths.
“A US drone fired two missiles on a militant compound, killing at least three suspected insurgents,” a senior security official told AFP. A security official in Peshawar confirmed the attack and casualties.
Another official in Miramshah put the death toll at four and said a fifth militant was seriously injured.
The identities of those killed in the strike were not immediately known but officials suspect that they were of Afghan origin.
The area residents surrounded the house after the attack and pulled out the bodies, sources said, adding the bodies were charred beyond recognition.
The unmanned aircraft kept flying over the area after the strike that took place at around midnight, they said.
This was the first drone strike in the area during the month.
North Waziristan is one of seven semi-autonomous regions in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) governed by tribal laws.
The region is chiefly off-limits to reporters because of security worries and government restrictions due to which reliable casualty figures are difficult to acquire from there.
An extremist insurgency led by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) plagues the region, known to be infested with militants, including those from Al Qaeda and other armed extremist organisations.
Pakistani government criticises drone strikes as a violation of sovereignty and counterproductive to anti-terror efforts. But ties with Washington have nevertheless improved this year after lurching from crisis to crisis in 2011 and 2012.
Last month, a US drone attack on a seminary linked to the feared Haqqani militant network in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest killed at least six people.
The attack, which militant sources said killed the Haqqanis' spiritual leader along with five others, was extremely unusual as it was mounted outside Pakistan's lawless tribal areas on the Afghan border.