The drone strikes took place in North Waziristan, next to the Afghan border, local residents and security officials said. -File Photo

MIRAMSHAH At least 16 militants were killed on Tuesday after US drones fired numerous missiles at a village in the tribal region near the Afghan border, security officials said.

The strike, which officials said involved 18 missiles fired from eight unmanned aircraft, is the latest in a series of US attacks on the tribal region.

“Up to eight US drones fired some 18 missiles at multiple militant targets in Dattakhel village,” a senior security official said.

“At least 16 militants were killed in the missile strikes,” the official said, after earlier putting the death toll at ten.

Local administration and intelligence officials confirmed the deaths after the volley of strikes reportedly struck militant hideouts and a training centre in three places in the village.

Residents of Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal district, said they saw the drones flying overhead and heard the explosions from Dattakhel, 40km west of the town.

The latest drone attack, the 13th this month according to a Reuters tally, was the heaviest ever in terms of the number of missiles fired.

On Jan 14, a US drone targeted Hakimullah Mehsud in South Waziristan. The Taliban later issued an audio tape purportedly from Hakimullah, denying he had been killed.

Pakistan Television reported last week that Hakimullah died of wounds sustained in a similar strike carried out in South Waziristan on Jan 17.

The Taliban have denied the report. The army says it is trying to check it. —Agencies

Our Correspondent adds According to informed sources, the compounds attacked belonged to Taliban Commander Hafiz Gul Behadur who headed a band of local and foreign militants.

The group of Gul Behadur issued a warning on Sunday that flames of conflict would engulf the whole of North Waziristan if the government launched a military operation or drone attacks continued.

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