Page last updated at 06:21 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

US drone attack kills three 'militants' in Pakistan

US drone
Hundreds have been killed in drone attacks in the past year

At least three suspected militants have been killed in a US drone attack in north-western Pakistan, officials say.

Two missiles fired from the drone hit a car near Miranshah in North Waziristan district, close to the Afghan border.

The areas of North and South Waziristan are a major sanctuary for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Hundreds of people, many of them civilians, have been killed in drone attacks in the past year. Top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was among them.

Pakistan has publicly criticised drone attacks, saying they fuel support for the militants.

The US military does not routinely confirm drone attacks, but the US armed forces and CIA in Afghanistan are the only forces capable of deploying drones in the region, analysts say.

The latest drone attack was the fourth such strike in North Waziristan since Pakistani forces launched an operation in the neighbouring South Waziristan last October.

The strike took place in the Spalga village when the missiles hit a car, killing all three people travelling in the vehicle, officials said.

A drone strike in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan last month killed at least eight suspected militants.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that reports from South Waziristan say militants fleeing an ongoing military operation there are crossing into North Waziristan.

Pakistan's military has launched a massive offensive against Taliban militants in South Waziristan.

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