4 Jun 2012

15 reportedly killed in US drone attack in Pakistan

9:40 pm on 4 June 2012

A strike by an unmanned American drone aircraft has killed 15 people near the Afghan border, according to Pakistani officials.

Two missiles are reported to have hit a suspected militant compound before dawn in Hesokhel, to the east of Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, the BBC reports.

The frontier tribal region is considered a hub of activity by al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

There have been eight US drone strikes in the past two weeks despite Pakistani demands for them to be stopped.

In the latest incident, the first missile struck the compound in Hesokhel before dawn, killing three militants and a second missile then killed 12 more militants who had arrived at the scene, security officials said.

The bodies of the suspected militants have not yet been identified, but there were unconfirmed reports that foreigners were among the dead.

It is the eighth and deadliest attack since 23 March this year, marking a considerable increase in the use of the controversial US drone programme, the BBC reports.