Islamabad: Suspected U.S. drones fired missiles at vehicles and hit a militant hide-out in a tribal region of northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least nine insurgents, two officials said.
In the first attack, the drones fired four missiles at a vehicle and flattened a nearby house near Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal region, killing six militants, an army and an intelligence official said.
About 50 minutes later, drones fired three more missiles at a vehicle in the Madakhel town, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Miran Shah, killing three insurgents, said the officials on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Other militants were also wounded in the two strikes, they said.
The CIA has stepped up attacks in Pakistan`s tribal regions since December, when a suicide bomber killed seven CIA employees in neighboring Afghanistan.
The latest attack came a day after the U.S. missile attack destroyed a militant facility in the same region, killing nine suspects.
Officials say some of the men slain in Tuesday`s attack in Datta Khel were believed to be foreigners who were present in the stronghold of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a warlord whose fighters are battling U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Although Pakistan publicly opposes the attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty and fuel anti-Americanism among the population, it is believed that it was sharing intelligence with the Americans about the insurgents and their hide-outs.
Washington also refuses to publicly discuss the program, which uses unmanned drones, but Pakistani officials say privately the attacks have killed several senior al-Qaida and Taliban commanders in recent years.