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Six militants killed in US strike in Pakistan: officials

At least six militants were killed in a US drone missile attack in northwest Pakistan, security officials said, in the third such strike on Taliban strongholds in 24 hours.

world Updated: Sep 30, 2009 18:36 IST

At least six militants were killed on Wednesday in a US drone missile attack in northwest Pakistan, security officials said, in the third such strike on Taliban strongholds in 24 hours.

The latest attack struck in the lawless tribal region of North Waziristan, a Taliban bolthole where Washington says Islamist fighters are hiding out and planning attacks on Western troops stationed in neighbouring Afghanistan.

"It was a US drone attack which targeted a compound in Norak area in North Waziristan killing six militants. Two missiles were fired from a US drone at 2:10 pm (0810 GMT)," a security official in the region said.

Another security official confirmed the attack, and told AFP that Taliban rebels were holding a meeting in the compound at the time of the attack.

"It is not clear if there was any high value target. We also do not know yet the identity of the militants killed in the attack," he said, but added that foreign Islamist fighters could be among the dead.

US drone strikes are hitting the tribal belt with increasing frequency, 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.

On Tuesday, two successive strikes in South and North Waziristan killed a total of 12 militants.

The first strike killed five rebels at the compound of a low-level Taliban commander in South Waziristan's Sara Rogha, a stronghold of former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike in August.

Hours later, more missiles pounded militants associated with the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network in North Waziristan, apparently killing seven Afghan Taliban at a house on the outskirts of the city of Miranshah.

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 as the US does not confirm drone strikes and the targets are deep in Taliban-controlled territory.