"We rushed out of our homes," Zar Wali, a local resident, told the AFP news agency, saying the powerful explosions caused panic.

US forces based in Afghanistan have carried out about 30 missile strikes in Pakistan in 2008, according to a Reuters tally, more than half since the beginning of September.

Continued battles

A tally of of reports from Pakistani intelligence agents, district government officials and residents claim the raids have killed more than 220 people, including foreign fighters.

In recent months, Pakistani forces and pro-Taliban fighters have been fighting in the Bajaur region on the Afghan border, northeast of South Waziristan, as well as in the Swat Valley.

The government in Islamabad says the US raids violate its sovereignty and undermine its military efforts by inflaming public anger.