MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, Jun (Reuters) - A missile strike by a suspected U.S. drone killed at least eight militants in Pakistan's Waziristan region on Wednesday, intelligence officials said, the latest attack in the tribal belt regarded as global hub of Islamist insurgents.
The missiles hit a fortress-like militant compound and a vehicle in Shawal, a forested area on the border between North and South Waziristan tribal regions.
"Two missiles hit the compound and two hit a vehicle. Initial reports suggest eight militants were there. The death toll may be more," a local intelligence official said.
The United States has stepped up missile strikes by CIA-operated remotely-piloted drones in northwest Pakistan as an effective tool to stem cross-border attacks by militants on U.S.-led foreign forces in Afghanistan.
Most of the strikes in the past year have focused on North Waziristan.
But the drone strikes have escalated in South Waziristan in recent days in an apparent signal that the CIA has identified high-value al Qaeda or Taliban targets in the region.
These attacks have come into sharper focus since Pakistani officials said top militant Ilyas Kashmiri was killed in one in South Waziristan late on Friday.
American officials in Washington said they were highly skeptical of reports that Kashmiri was dead.
(Reporting by Haji Mujtaba; Writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)