DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – A suspected U.S. missile strike killed five tribesmen in a Pakistani town close to the Afghan border, the latest in a series of attacks in a region where top al-Qaida leaders are believed to be living, two intelligence officials said.
Two unmanned drones were seen above Miran Shah in north Waziristan minutes before missiles hit a house near a factory late Saturday, the officials said, based on reports from informants in the town.
The intelligence officials said there were no indications that any foreign militants were among the victims. Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters have established bases throughout Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal regions, where they are said to plan attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan as well as violence in Pakistan.
They said initial reports put the death toll at three, but later two more bodies were recovered from rubble of the house of a local tribeman.
Under U.S. pressure, Pakistan has carried out military offensives against insurgents while also trying to woo various tribes to turn against extremists. But in recent weeks, the U.S. has signaled its impatience with Pakistani efforts.
The U.S. is suspected in at least 11 missile strikes on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border since mid-August, killing more than 100 people, most of them alleged militants, according to an Associated Press count based on Pakistan intelligence numbers.
The United States rarely confirms or denies the attacks, which provoke anger among many Pakistanis.
Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders have criticized the strikes as violations of their country’s sovereignty. But they have not forcefully demanded Washington stop them, leading to criticism from Muslim conservatives.