PESHAWAR: At least nine people were killed as suspected US drones fired missiles in Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal region on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.
A resident said two missiles apparently hit a sprawling compound belonging to Mullah Nazir’s group — one of the most influential militant groups involved in fighting US-led forces across the border in Afghanistan — in Wana, the main town in the region.
“There was a huge blast and we can see smoke rising from the compound,” a Reuters witness in Wana said.
Two missiles targeted a vehicle used by militants in the same area.
The United States has stepped up attacks on militant targets in the tribal region along the Afghan border for more than a year.
Most of these attacks have targeted North Waziristan — a major al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuary — but the CIA-operated drones have in recent weeks intensified attacks on militants in South Waziristan.
The Pakistan army launched a major offensive in South Waziristan in 2009, forcing many militants to flee to North Waziristan.
But security officials say many militants appeared to have slipped back to South Waziristan amid fears that the army, under pressure from the United States, would launch an operation against them in North Waziristan.
Two militant commanders with Nazir’s group last week told Reuters that they planned to step up their fight against American forces in neighbouring Afghanistan in response to intensified missile strikes on their territory.