Suspected US missiles struck a militant compound in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least three people in an area teeming with Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters who often launch attacks against NATO troops in Afghanistan.
It was the second strike in as many days in North Waziristan, a mountainous area along the Afghan border where unmanned aircraft operated by the CIA have launched dozens of attacks.
The compound struck by two US missiles on Sunday was located in the village of Tabbi Tolkhel, said Noor Ahmed, the deputy political leader in the area.
Ahmed said tribesmen recovered five bodies from the rubble.
This report conflicted with two Pakistani intelligence officials speaking on condition of anonymity, who said three militants were killed and five others wounded.
The US has relied on missile strikes to target militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas but refuses to publicly acknowledge the existence of the covert program.
However, on Sunday, CIA Director Leon Panetta said such efforts are responsible for reducing al-Qaeda to its weakest since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
“We are engaged in the most aggressive operations in the history of the CIA in that part of the world and the result is that we are disrupting their leadership,” Panetta told ABC’s This Week.
He rejected criticism that the strike program violates international law as “dead wrong.”
Pakistan publicly protests the attacks as violations of its sovereignty, but is believed to have assisted in at least some.
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