A U.S. drone fired two missiles at a sprawling compound in a northwestern tribal region of Pakistan on Wednesday, killing seven militants, two Pakistani intelligence officials said.
The strike took place in Datta Khel, a town in North Waziristan where the Pakistani army has been carrying out a major offensive against local and foreign militants since June 15, the officials said.
The identity of the slain men was not immediately known, and it was also not clear which group of militants was the target. The intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, provided no further information.
U.S. drone strikes are a serious source of tension between Washington and Islamabad. Pakistan routinely denounces the strikes as a violation of the country’s sovereignty.
The Pakistani Taliban and their allies have been waging a bloody insurgency against the government for years that has killed tens of thousands of civilians and security personnel.
The militant groups oppose Pakistan’s unpopular alliance with the U.S. and are trying to overthrow the government in Islamabad.
Washington for years had pushed Islamabad for a military operation against militants in North Waziristan, who are also accused of attacking NATO and U.S. forces in neighboring Afghanistan.
Despite this international pressure, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after coming into power last year initiated peace talks with the Taliban to end the violence. Sharif urged Washington to halt drone strikes at least during his peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban.
But the talks collapsed after militants attacked the country’s busiest airport in the southern port city of Karachi, prompting Sharif to order an operation in North Waziristan.
Just days after the airport siege, Washington also resumed drone strikes in North Waziristan after a nearly six-month lull.