At least four people have been killed in an attack by a US assassination drone in Pakistan’s troubled northwestern tribal region.
Local security officials said the attack took place in the village of Heso Khel, situated about 35 kilometers (21 miles) east of Miranshah -- the main town in North Waziristan, on Saturday.
"At least four militants have been killed and the compound has been completely destroyed," a security source said on condition of anonymity.
A second security official stated that the death toll might rise.
The Islamabad government has repeatedly protested against US drone strikes, saying they violate Pakistan's sovereignty.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently blasted the aerial assaults in his country, describing them as a violation of the international law and the UN Charter.
Washington claims its drone strikes target militants, although casualty figures show that Pakistani civilians are often the victims of the non-UN-sanctioned attacks.
The United States often uses its assassination drones to hit targets in Pakistan and some other countries including Yemen and Afghanistan.
US President Barack Obama recently defended the use of the controversial drones as “self-defense.”
The airstrikes, initiated under former US President George W. Bush, have been escalated under the Obama administration.
The United Nations says the US-operated drone strikes in Pakistan pose a growing challenge to the international rule of law.
Philip Alston, UN special envoy on extrajudicial killings, said in a report in late October 2010 that the attacks were undermining the rules designed to protect the right of life.
Alston went on to say that he fears the drone killings by the US Central Intelligence Agency could develop a "Playstation" mentality.