MIRANSHAH, PAKISTAN (BNO NEWS) -- At least four suspected militants were killed on early Wednesday morning when a U.S. drone carried out an airstrike in Pakistan's volatile tribal region, Pakistani intelligence officials said. It is likely to further anger the Pakistani government.
The attack happened when an unmanned U.S. drone fired two missiles at a suspected militant compound in the Tabai area near Miranshah, the main town in Pakistan's North Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan. Locals said most of the house was destroyed by the airstrike.
Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the U.S. operation killed at least four suspected militants, but their nationalities and affiliation were not immediately known. There were unconfirmed reports that several people were also injured in the attack.
On April 30, Pakistan's foreign ministry summoned U.S. Political Councilor Jonathan Pratt to protest a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan. The drone strike a day earlier targeted an abandoned high school for girls in Miranshah, killing four suspected militants and injuring three others. It was not possible to independently verify the figures.
Pakistani officials have repeatedly described the U.S. drone attacks as illegal. Pakistani President Asif Zardari has also stated the need to establish alternative security operations to the drone strikes, but U.S. officials have indicated that they will continue to carry out U.S. drone strikes to take out militants.
Few details about casualties from the strikes are usually available, but allegations of civilian casualties regularly spark protests in Pakistan. According to the Washington-based think tank New America Foundation, as many as 2,680 individuals were killed as a result of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 and early 2012.
In January, U.S. President Barack Obama, for the first time during his presidency, publicly acknowledged that U.S. drones regularly strike suspected militants along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He confirmed that many of these strikes are carried out in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, targeting al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects in tough terrain.
The U.S. considers the Pakistan-Afghan border to be the most dangerous place on Earth. The area is known to be a stronghold of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network, which is one of the top terrorist organizations and threats to U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.
But controversy has surrounded the drone strikes as local residents and officials have blamed them for killing innocent civilians and motivating young men to join the Taliban. Details about the alleged militants are usually not provided, and the U.S. government does not comment on the strikes.
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