MIRANSHAH, Pakistan — A US drone missile attack on a suspected militant hideout in a remote tribal area in northwest Pakistan early Thursday killed at least four people, security officials said.
The pre-dawn strike targeted the suspected militant compound in Dandey Darpa Khel in the North Waziristan region near the Afghan border, a security official said.
"It was a drone strike and initial reports said at least three people were killed and several wounded," the official said, requesting anonymity.
A senior security official later said four people were killed and six wounded.
A third security official said two missiles were fired by the pilotless aircraft. They hit a house belonging to an Afghan refugee, he said.
"It was a suspected militant hideout," he added.
Afghan Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani's group is said to be active in the area.
Haqqani served as a minister in the Taliban government which was ousted in late 2001 in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
Northwest Pakistan is seeing a surge in US strikes as the United States tries to stem the flow of militants waging a deadly insurgency against about 100,000 foreign troops stationed across the border.
The US military does not, as a rule, confirm drone attacks, but its armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy pilotless drones in the region.
The fatalities are impossible to verify independently due to the lack of confirmation of the strikes by the United States and because the targets are deep in Taliban-controlled territory.
Islamabad publicly opposes the US missile strikes, saying they violate its territorial sovereignty. Since August 2008, dozens such strikes have killed nearly 600 people.
But the Pakistani government welcomed the death of Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone attack on August 5, and analysts say Islamabad gives its tacit support to the strikes.
Pakistan's security forces are also engaged in a fierce offensive against Taliban fighters in the northwest whom they blame for a wave of attacks across Pakistan that has killed more than 2,100 people in the past two years.
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