MIR ALI, Pakistan – A suspected U.S missile struck a Pakistani militant stronghold near the Afghan border late Monday, killing five people, intelligence and government officials said.
The missile hit a compound in Machi Khel village in the North Waziristan tribal area — a region home to Taliban and Taliban-affiliated militant groups, some of which are suspected in attacks on Western troops stationed in Afghanistan.
The U.S. has fired scores of missiles from unmanned drones into Pakistan's lawless tribal regions over the past year, a campaign that it says has killed several top Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders.
An August missile strike killed Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud in neighboring South Waziristan tribal region.
The identities of the people killed Monday were not immediately clear, said the officials, two of whom work for Pakistani intelligence. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.
Local resident Hikmat Ullah said Monday's strike caused "a big blast."
"We saw three planes flying in the sky before the missile strike," he said.