Page last updated at 03:43 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

Pakistan drone raid 'kills five'

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

Missiles fired by a suspected US drone have killed at least five people in north-western Pakistan, officials say.

The missiles hit a militant hideout in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan area near the Afghan border, officials said.

They said the identities of those killed were not known.

North and South Waziristan are known sanctuaries for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The US has recently stepped up drone attacks in the region.

Hundreds of people, including a number of militants, have been killed in scores of drone strikes since August 2008.

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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