U.S. drones fired a barrage of missiles at a vehicle and a house in a Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan killing at least five suspected militants, it was claimed today.
Two others were also injured in the strikes which followed a series of drone attacks last month in North Waziristan claiming dozens of lives - including a top commander of the powerful Haqqani militant network
Two intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to brief the media, said U.S. drones fired seven missiles at targets in the village of Degan.
They said the area is dominated by anti-American militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, but they did not know whether the men killed belonged to his faction.
Bahadur is alleged to have been involved in frequent attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but generally shies away from carrying out operations inside Pakistan.
Pakistan protested twice last month over continued 'violation of its sovereignty and international law' by CIA-run drone attacks, but these were apparently ignored.
Washington maintains the programme is a necessary and effective tool in combatting militants.
A drone strike a week ago in North Waziristan killed Badruddin Haqqani, one of the sons of the founder of the Haqqani network.
Badruddin was considered the organisation's day-to-day operations commander, and was labeled as a terrorist by the U.S. State Department, along with his father and two of his brothers.
North Waziristan, where many of the U.S. drone strikes occur, is the one tribal area where Pakistani forces have yet to carry out a military offensive against militants.
Meanwhile, a group of gunmen on motorcycles in the southwestern province of Baluchistan killed seven Shiite Muslims, as violence against the minority sect continues to escalate.
Senior police officer Wazir Khan Nasir said four gunmen riding two motorcycles stopped a local bus near the central vegetable market of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan.
The gunmen identified seven people belong to the Shiite Hazara community, forced them off the bus and shot five of them dead. Two tried to run away but the gunmen chased them down and killed them in a nearby street.
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