ISLAMABAD (AP) — A suspected American missile strike killed four militants in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, intelligence officials said, the latest in an unprecedented barrage this month against suspected al-Qaida and Taliban targets.
There was uncertainty on the identities of those killed in the attack in South Waziristan region, which lies just across the border from Afghanistan. Officials say an 'al-Qaida Chief' was killed in the attack. The Pakistani army last year launched a major anti-militant offensive in the region, though insurgents remain.
Two Pakistani intelligence officials said a pair of missiles struck a house in the Angoor Adda district.
They said four militants were killed. They did not give their names because their agency does not permit it.
The United States occasionally fired missiles into Pakistan's border area beginning in 2004 but their pace picked up in late 2007 and has continued ever since. This month there has been at least 21 attacks, more than double the highest number fired in any other single month.
The U.S. refuses to publicly acknowledge the drone strikes, but officials have said privately that they have killed several senior al-Qaida and Taliban commanders.
Pakistani officials have criticized the strikes in the past as violations of the country's sovereignty, but such criticism has been muted in recent months despite the high number of attacks. Many analysts believe Pakistan assists the U.S. in carrying out the strikes, especially when they target groups like the Pakistani Taliban that are at war with the state.