US drone kills at least 4 in Pakistan: Officials

US has called Pakistan`s semi-autonomous northwest tribal region the most dangerous place on Earth.

Miranshah: A US drone strike late Tuesday killed at least four militants in northwest Pakistan`s lawless tribal belt on the border with Afghanistan, local security officials said.

The drone fired two missiles at a guesthouse in Mir Ali, about 25 kilometres (16 miles) east of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district, the officials said.

"The guesthouse was completely destroyed. At least four militants have been killed in this US drone attack," said a security official in Mir Ali. "Five other militants were injured."

The house was about 200 metres (yards) from the main bazaar in Mir Ali, he added.

Most drone strikes are against targets in rural areas, rather than in towns.

Another security official in Miranshah confirmed the strike and put the death toll at six. Both officials said they had reports that there were some foreign militants among the dead.

Washington has called Pakistan`s semi-autonomous northwest tribal region the most dangerous place on Earth and the global headquarters of al Qaeda, where Taliban and other al Qaeda-linked networks have established bases.

A total of 19 US drone strikes have now been reported in the tribal belt since US commandos found and killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a unilateral airborne raid in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad on May 02.

The raid humiliated the Pakistani military and invited allegations of incompetence and complicity, and relations between Islamabad and Washington, wary at the best of times, have since deteriorated sharply.

Pakistan is demanding an end to the drone strikes, while the United States has increasingly demanded that Islamabad take decisive action against terror networks.

The United States does not officially confirm Predator drone attacks, but its military and the CIA operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the armed, unmanned aircraft in the region.

The missile strikes are hugely unpopular among a Pakistani public deeply opposed to the government`s alliance with Washington and sensitive to perceived violations of sovereignty.

Bureau Report

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