Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 16:08 UK

Drones kill Pakistan 'militants'

US drone
There have been frequent drone attacks in recent months

At least nine suspected militants have been killed in two US drone attacks in Pakistan's troubled Waziristan region.

The strikes came just hours apart, the first in South Waziristan, the second near the main town in North Waziristan.

Houses used by militants were hit in both cases, local officials say. At least eight insurgents were injured.

Hundreds of militants and civilians have been killed in dozens of such attacks in the past year, including top Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud.

In the first attack on Tuesday, the house of a well-known militant was hit in the Sararogha area of South Waziristan, officials said.

"Two missiles struck a house at around 1400 local time [0830GMT] near Sararogha," a local administration official told the BBC.

"It is owned by Irfan Shamankhel. Five people were killed and six injured in the attack."

The official said that Irfan Shamankhel was believed to be very close to Hakimullah Mehsud, the new head of Pakistan's Taliban.

The official also told the BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan that those killed "included Uzbek militants". Our correspondent says hundreds of Uzbek militants are in Pakistan's tribal areas and are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

Locals say large numbers of people have left parts of South Waziristan because of fears of missile attacks and an impending army operation. Others have gone to places like Bannu and Tank ahead of winter.

Reports say many houses in the Sararogha area have been taken over by local and foreign militants.

In the second attack, a house was hit about 2km (1.5 miles) west of Miran Shah in North Waziristan.

Local officials told the BBC that a suspected US drone had fired one missile at that the house, which had been inhabited by Taliban fighters.

They said four militants had been killed and two injured.


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