Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 12:28 UK

Drone strike kills four Pakistan 'militants'

US drone
US drone attacks are being stepped up along the Afghan-Pakistan border

Missiles fired from a US drone have killed at least four suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal region of North Waziristan, officials say.

The missiles hit a car and a compound in Tolkhel village near Miranshah, the district's main town.

North Waziristan has been the focus of dozens of such airstrikes which have killed hundreds of people, including civilians, since August 2008.

Many al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters find shelter in North and South Waziristan.

"Missiles hit a car carrying militants and as soon as other people rushed in to help, more missiles were fired by drones," news agency AFP quoted an official as saying.

"The identity of the militants was not immediately clear," he said.

The US has recently stepped up drone attacks in the region.

Over the past 18 months Pakistan has publicly criticised drone attacks, saying they fuel support for militants, but observers say the authorities privately condone the strikes.

The American military does not routinely confirm drone operations, but analysts say the US is the only force capable of deploying such aircraft in the region.

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