South Asia

Drone attack in Pakistan kills four 'militants'

US Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, file image
Drone attacks are reported to have killed hundreds of people in 2010

At least four people have been killed in a US drone strike in north-west Pakistan, local officials say.

Missiles struck a compound in the Azam Warsak area of the tribal region of South Waziristan on the Afghan border.

Officials told the BBC that the dead included militants from Punjab province.

The area is a haven for al-Qaeda and the Taliban. US drone attacks have escalated in the restive region since President Barack Obama took office.

This is the first such attack since the arrest one month ago of US embassy employee Raymond Davis, who shot two Pakistanis dead in Lahore.

The arrest has fuelled tensions between the US and Pakistan, with many Pakistanis demanding Mr Davis be put on trial despite US claims that he has diplomatic immunity.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Karachi says the drone strikes were believed to have been halted to stem rising anti-American feeling following Mr Davis' arrest.

More than 100 raids were reported in the area last year.

The US does not routinely confirm that it has launched drone operations, but analysts say only American forces have the capacity to deploy such aircraft in the region.

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