U.S. drones kill four militants in Pakistan's Waziristan

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan Tue Jul 5, 2011 3:51pm EDT

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (Reuters) - Two U.S. drone aircraft fired three missiles into a house in Pakistan's North Waziristan region on the Afghan border on Tuesday, killing at least four militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The drone strike took place in Mir Ali town, 24 km (15 miles) east of the region's main town of Miranshah.

"The house has been completely destroyed. Militants have cordoned off the area and are removing bodies from rubble," a local intelligence official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters adding that four militants were killed in the strike.

It was not possible to verify the deaths independently. Militants often dispute official casualty tolls.

North Waziristan is a known sanctuary for al Qaeda and Taliban militants and the United States has been pressing Pakistan to launch a military offensive there.

Washington and its Western allies say militants launch attacks on their forces in Afghanistan from bases in Pakistan's tribal belt.

U.S. forces have intensified strikes by remotely-controlled drones in Pakistan's border regions since the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces in the country on May 2.

Eighty-eight militants were killed by U.S. drones in June, according to a Reuters tally based on statements from intelligence officials.

Pakistan publicly opposes drone attacks, saying they complicate its efforts to fight militants who want to topple the pro-U.S. government and impose strict Islamic rule in the country.

(Reporting by Haji Mujtaba; Writing by Kamran Haider)