U.S. drone strike kills 8 in Pakistan's tribal area (UPDATE)
U.S. drone aircrafts Tuesday morning fired missiles on houses and a car and killed at least eight people and injured several others in northwest Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region, local sources said.
Locals said drones fired 18 missiles in different locations at Datta Khel, an area near Afghan border and destroyed the houses and a vehicle, Xinhua reported.
Datta Khel, some 15 kilometers west of Miranshah, the center of North Waziristan, is considered to be the stronghold of Taliban militants and had been under U.S attacks in recent months.
It is the second U.S strike in the same region in two days and third this month.
On Sunday, U.S. drone aircraft fired missiles at a house and killed at least 10 people.
Also on May 3, a U.S unmanned Predator aircraft killed six people.
It was not clear as to who were targeted in the Tuesday's attack, one of the major strikes in months.
Witnesses said they saw blaze in the Datta Khel mountainous area after the strike and the people could not immediately rush to the site fearing more strikes.
Tribesmen said spy planes were hovering over the region and making low flights before the attack.
U.S authorities claim drone aircraft target militants on intelligence passed on by their agents in the area. Militants allege that Pakistani authorities also provide information for drone attacks.
The drone attacks routinely target Taliban and al-Qaeda commanders in Pakistan's lawless tribal regions along the Afghanistan border.
Although Pakistan publicly opposes the attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty and fuel anti-Americanism among the population, it is believed that it was sharing intelligence with the U.S. about the insurgents and their hideouts.
More than 900 people have been killed in more than 90 U.S. strikes in Pakistan since August 2008, with a surge in the past year as U.S. President Barack Obama has put Pakistan at the heart of his fight against Al-Qaeda.
The U.S. has stepped up strikes in North Waziristan after Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud appeared in a video with Hammam Khalil Al-Balawi, the Jordanian suicide bomber who killed seven CIA operatives in a forward base in Afghanistan's Khost province in December last year.