US drone strike kills four militants in Pakistan: Officials

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) - A US drone strike killed at least four militants in Pakistan's restive tribal region near the Afghan border on Saturday, Pakistani security officials said.

The strike took place in Warokey Mandi area of Shawal district in North Waziristan, a tribal region where the Pakistani military has since June been battling militants linked to the Taleban and Al-Qaeda.

"The US drone fired two missiles targeting a militant compound, killing four rebels," a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He said the identities of those killed in the strike were not immediately known.

Another security official confirmed the strike and details of the casualties.

North Waziristan is one of seven semi-autonomous tribal districts that border Afghanistan.

It has been a hub for Al-Qaeda and Taleban militants since the early 2000s.

The area is generally off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to independently verify the number and identity of the dead.

Washington pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out sanctuaries in North Waziristan, which militants have used to launch attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan began a long-awaited push to clear insurgent bases from North Waziristan last June after a bloody Taleban attack on Karachi airport sank faltering peace talks.

The army has intensified its offensive since the Taleban's massacre of 153 people, 134 of them children, in a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December.