Page last updated at 06:44 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 07:44 UK

'Militant deaths' in US drone hit

US drone
Pakistan objects to the strikes by pilotless US aircraft

At least 10 militants have died after missiles were fired by a suspected US drone aircraft at a Taliban target in Pakistan, intelligence officials say.

Unnamed officials said it was an attack on a militant training facility in the South Waziristan area.

It took place in an area on the Afghan border controlled by Pakistan's top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

There have been more than 35 US strikes since last August, killing over 340 people, it is estimated.

Most hits have taken place in the North and South Waziristan areas.


"Three missiles hit the hideout of Taliban commander Noor Wali. Casualties are feared, but details are not immediately available," news agency AFP quoted a security official as saying.

The attacks took place in Mochikhel, an area controlled by Noor Wali, who is part of Baitullah Mehsud's Tehrik-e-Taliban organisation.


Mochikhel is near the key Servakai route, currently the scene of fighting between Pakistani security forces and Mehsud's militants.

Any casualty figures could not be immediately confirmed but unnamed intelligence officials and residents said at least 10 militants were killed.

Pakistan has been publicly critical of drone attacks, arguing that they kill civilians and fuel support for the militants.

The US military does not routinely confirm drone attacks but the armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are believed to be the only forces capable of deploying drones in the region.

The BBC's Mike Wooldridge in Islamabad says that assuming that the accounts from Pakistani officials of Friday's suspected drone strike in South Waziristan are correct, then it shows that the major new offensive the Americans are carrying out across the border in Afghanistan is not diverting them from their efforts to tackle militant sanctuaries in Pakistan.

Recently the Americans carried out their deadliest drone strike here, with Pakistani officials and local residents saying at least 50 people were killed.

The strike brought renewed public calls from the government for the US drone attacks to stop, our correspondent reports.

In March, US President Barack Obama said his government would consult Pakistan on drone attacks.

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