Page last updated at 07:37 GMT, Friday, 1 January 2010

US drone attack in Pakistan 'kills three'

US drone
Hundreds died in drone attacks near the Pakistan-Afghan border in 2009

Missiles fired from a US drone aircraft have killed at least three people in north-west Pakistan, reports say.

Pakistani security officials say the pilotless aircraft fired two missiles at a moving car in the tribal region of North Waziristan.

Reports say the attack was about 15km (nine miles) east of Miranshah.

North Waziristan is a stronghold of Taliban militants. The Pakistan army has recently staged an offensive against militants in South Waziristan.

A senior security official told the AFP news agency that three militants had been killed but their identify was not yet known.

"It is also not clear whether any high value target was present in the area when the attack took place," said the official.

Another security official, quoted by Reuters, said the bodies were "burned beyond recognition".

On Thursday, at least three militants were reported to have been killed in another US drone attack in the same area.

The US has carried out scores of attacks by unmanned drones since 2008, killing hundreds of people, many of them civilians. Top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was among them.

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

Although Pakistan is a key ally of the US, it has publicly opposed the tactic, saying such attacks lead to civilian casualties and are counter-productive.

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