DERA ISMAIL KHAN Pakistan (Reuters) - Missiles from U.S. drones hit a gathering of militants and a suspected training camp in northwest Pakistan in two separate attacks on Tuesday, killing at least 8 people, intelligence officials said.
Attacks by U.S. drones have intensified in recent months after a pause in the first half of this year. Tuesday’s attacks mark the third and fourth drone strike in three days.
In the first attack, three missiles from the unmanned aircraft hit a suspected training camp in the Shawal area of North Waziristan just after midday, two Pakistani intelligence officials told Reuters. Six suspected militants were reported killed and nine injured, they said.
In the second attack, missiles hit a gathering of militants on a mountain in the Datta Khel region in North Waziristan, killing two people and wounding at least four on Tuesday evening, said Pakistani intelligence officials.
Death tolls from drone strikes are often disputed since the area is off limits to independent journalists and observers. The Taliban also frequently seal off the sites of attacks.
The United States halted drone strikes in Pakistan for the first six months of 2014 while the Pakistani government engaged in ultimately fruitless peace talks with the Taliban insurgency.
But the strikes restarted on June 11, just four days before the military announced an anti-Taliban offensive in the remote region of North Waziristan along the Afghan border.
Many of the militants who fled the offensive are believed to be hiding in the Shawal valley, a thickly forested, mountainous area.
Five suspected militants were killed in a strike in Shawal on Monday, and another five killed in a strike in the same area on Sunday.
Pakistan’s government routinely publicly protests the strikes as an infringement of its national sovereignty. But former President Pervez Musharraf admitted strikes during his term were approved.
The U.S. has reined in its drone programme in Pakistan following intense criticism over civilian deaths. No civilians have been reported killed in 2014, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks drone strikes using local media reports.
The Bureau said there had been at least 12 drone strikes in Pakistan so far this year, although it did not include the second strike from Tuesday in its data.
Additional reporting by Haji Mujtaba in Bannu and Katharine Houreld in Islamabad; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Raissa Kasolowsky