Pakistan drone strike 'kills 10' suspected militants

image captionThe use of US drones is contentious in Pakistan

A US drone attack has killed at least 10 suspected militants in Pakistan's north-western tribal area, Pakistani security officials say.

Several missiles struck a militant compound in the Shawal area of the volatile North Waziristan area close to the Afghan border, reports say.

Local intelligence officials say the strike targeted the compound of a senior militant.

The frontier tribal region is considered a hub of militant activity.

The targeted compound was in Dray Nashtar village, some 65km (40 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, according to the AFP news agency.

"It was not immediately clear if any important militant had been killed in the attack. We are trying to ascertain the identities," a local intelligence official told AFP.

In recent months there has been an upsurge in the use of the controversial US drone programme.

Pakistan says the drone attacks fuel anti-US sentiment and claim civilian casualties along with militants. The US insists the strikes are effective.

Drone strikes have killed hundreds of people in recent years. The dead include senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, as well as an unknown number of other militants and civilians.

Despite worsening relations between the uneasy allies, Pakistan recently reopened supply routes through Pakistan for Nato troops stationed in Afghanistan.

The routes had been closed since November 2011, after a Nato border air strike hit a Pakistan military compound, killing 24 soldiers.

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