South Asia

Pakistan: US drone strikes kill seven - officials say

Two US drone missile attacks have killed at least seven people in the Pakistani tribal region bordering Afghanistan, officials say.

The first attack hit a car, killing four people near the town of Wana in South Waziristan, officials said.

They said a second strike, in neighbouring North Waziristan, struck another vehicle, killing three people.

The area is a militant stronghold. Hundreds of people have died in dozens of such attacks in recent months.

The media are denied access to the area and independent confirmation of who has been killed in such attacks is not possible.

Surge in attacks

North Waziristan has been targeted by drone strikes for months. The US says North Waziristan is home to several militant groups involved in attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan.

But many recent drone attacks have targeted South Waziristan - a leading al-Qaeda militant, Ilyas Kashmiri, was reported to have been killed there in a US strike earlier this month.

Militants have vowed to avenge Kashmiri's reported killing, as well as the killing by US forces of Osama Bin Laden last month.

United States officials do not routinely confirm that they have carried out drone attacks, but analysts say that only US forces have the capacity to carry out such strikes in the region.

Many militants, some of them senior, have been killed in the drone strikes, but hundreds of civilians have also died. The strikes are hugely unpopular among the Pakistani public.