ISLAMABAD, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of the U.S. drone strike launched on Thursday in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region has risen to 16 while leaving several others injured, local media reported.
According to local Urdu TV Channel Geo News, the U.S. pilotless plane targeted a religious seminary in the Bilandkhel area of the Upper Orakzai, one of Pakistan's seven northwestern restive tribal regions near Afghanistan border.
The drone fired four missiles at the compound that killed seven people on the spot while injuring 15 others.
Local media, quoting some sources, reported that seven people were killed on the spot while nine others succumbed to their injuries on the way to hospital.
The seminary was being run under the supervision of Maulvi Shakirullah, who is considered to be a close aid of Haqqani Network. There was no report about Shakirullah, whether he was present in the school at the time of attack or not.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, at least five people were killed when an U.S. drone strike fired at a suspected compound in the country's northwest tribal area of North Waziristan.
According to Xinhua's tally, Thursday's strike is the 33rd of its kind (counted on daily basis) in 2012 in which at least 243 people have been killed so far.
The U.S. and the NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan believe that Pakistan's bordering areas especially North Waziristan is the safe heaven for the militants who allegedly attack NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Pakistan, on a number of occasions, protested and showed reservations over such attacks, terming them the violation of its sovereignty and a big reason of collateral damage. But U.S. considered it an effective way to eliminate militants hiding in Pakistan's north-western hilly regions.