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US drone kills eight militants in NW Pakistan: officials

A US drone fired two missiles at a militant compound in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan early Tuesday killing eight militants, security officials said.

world Updated: Jul 12, 2011 10:24 IST

A US drone fired two missiles at a militant compound in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan early Tuesday killing eight militants, security officials said.

The missile strike took place in South Waziristan tribal district's Bushnarai area close to the border with Afghanistan.

"At least eight militants were killed after a US drone fired two missiles at a militant compound," a senior security official told AFP.

A local security official and intelligence officials confirmed the attack and the casualties.

The identities of the militants were not clear immediately clear.

Washington has called Pakistan's semi-autonomous northwest tribal region the most dangerous place on Earth and the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.

Relations between Pakistan and the United States have deteriorated sharply since the May 2 killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town, and Islamabad has demanded an end to the drone strikes.

President Barack Obama's chief of staff, William Daley, confirmed in a television interview on Sunday that the United States had decided to withhold almost a third of its annual $2.7 billion security assistance to Islamabad.

The bin Laden raid humiliated the Pakistani military and invited allegations of incompetence and complicity, while Washington has increasingly demanded that Islamabad take decisive action against terror networks.

The United States does not officially confirm Predator drone attacks, but its military and the CIA operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the armed, unmanned aircraft in the region.

The missile strikes are hugely unpopular among a Pakistani public deeply opposed to the government's alliance with Washington and sensitive to perceived violations of sovereignty.