U.S. Missile Strike Kills 7 Militants in Northwest Pakistan, Officials Say

A U.S. drone fired three missiles into a militant compound in Pakistan's tribal area near the Afghan border on Saturday, killing seven militants, security officials said.

The strike took place at 9pm local time (1600 GMT) in Marsikhel area, 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, which is known as a hub for Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked militants.

The nationalities of the seven dead militants were not immediately clear, a senior Pakistani security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Another security official confirmed the strike and the death toll and said, "We don't know yet if any high-value target was present in the area at the time of attack."

U.S. forces have been waging a covert drone war against Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked commanders in the country's northwestern tribal belt, where militants have carved out havens in mountainous areas outside direct government control.

More than 870 people have been killed in nearly 100 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008.

Washington calls Pakistan's tribal belt the global headquarters of Al Qaeda and the most dangerous region in the world. Islamist militants in the area are believed to be fueling the nearly nine-year insurgency in Afghanistan.