ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A suspected U.S. missile strike killed at least 12 people in a village near the Afghan border on Friday, including several suspected foreign militants, Pakistani officials said.
The attack happened in North Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal region and stronghold of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters suspected of mounting attacks on U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan.
Pakistan's tribal belt is considered a likely hiding place for Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri. Missile attacks from unmanned U.S. aircraft in the region have increased dramatically in recent months.
Several Pakistani intelligence officials told The Associated Press that at least two missiles hit a house in Ghari Wam, a village about 18 miles from the frontier, at about 2 a.m. on Friday morning.
Two officials said put the death toll at 12 and said they included several suspected foreign militants. Their exact identity was not immediately clear. Taliban gunmen had cordoned the area and removed the bodies, one official said.
Another official put the toll at 13 and said 10 of the dead were foreigners.
The officials cited reports from agents and informants in the area and the different tallies could not be reconciled immediately. All of the officials asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, could not be reached.