At least 16 people have been killed and several others wounded in a US drone strike against a suspected Taliban compound in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region, according to Al Jazeera’s Islamabad bureau.
About eight to 10 missiles were reportedly fired hitting three different targets including a compound in Babar Zariat, a border village between North and South Waziristan.
More fighters were believed to be in the locations when they were hit on Sunday, meaning the death toll may rise, according to the Reuters news agency.
The compounds were believed to house fighters belonging to the Punjabi Taliban, a group with close links to al-Qaeda,
intelligence officials said.
Al Jazeera identified the commander of the group as Qari Imran. But there is no confirmation on his death.
“We are not sure who was killed on the ground, whether they were indeed militants as claimed by the intelligence sources,” Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder said. “Normally, there are civilian casualties as well, particularly when compounds and houses are hit.”
The Pakistan Taliban has established sanctuaries in the mountainous Babar area, 140km northeast of Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan, officials added.
South Waziristan is controlled by the Pakistani army, which operates under an uneasy truce with fighters from the local Wazir tribe.
Sunday’s strike follows the death of Mullah Nazir, a Waziri tribal leader, on Wednesday. Nazir supported attacks on US forces in Afghanistan but had signed two peace deals with the Pakistani army.
On Sunday, thousands of his tribesmen protested against his killing.