PESHAWAR: A US drone strike on Wednesday killed at least six militants in Shawal.
“A US drone fired two missiles at a compound and vehicle in Shawal area of North Waziristan, killing six terrorists,” a senior security official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The strike targeted a Taliban compound in North Waziristan, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal districts that border Afghanistan and a hub for al Qaeda and Taliban militants since the early 2000s.
The compound was razed to grounds whereas a vehicle inside the compound was blown into pieces. Since a drone was hovering in air for around half an hour, rescue activities started late.
Another security official confirmed the strike and casualties, saying three among the killed were foreigners whereas four of them local.
Exact identity of the killed foreigners is yet to be confirmed but officials believe them to be Central Asians.
Two militants were injured as well who were shifted to local clinics.
Recent drone attacks by the US have raised speculation that Washington and Islamabad are coordinating their military efforts.
Pakistan, however, officially denounces the strikes as a violation of its sovereignty.
It was the fourth US drone attack in Shawal mountainous area in January 2015, which is covered by snow. Due to the extreme weather, movement for militants and troops as well is impossible. All of them are confined to their shelters, dins and barracks. The area is generally off-limits to journalists as well, making it difficult to independently verify the number and identity of the dead.
Washington pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out militant sanctuaries in North Waziristan, which have been used to launch attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The latest strikes came after Pakistan ramped up its anti-terror strategy in the wake of a December 16 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar that killed 150 people, 134 of them children.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced the establishment of military courts for terror-related cases in order to accelerate trials, and also lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty, reinstating it for terrorism-related cases.