ISLAMABAD, July 16 (Xinhua) -- A U.S. drone strike on Wednesday morning has left at least 20 people killed and several others injured in Pakistan's northwest tribal town of Datta Khel, local media reported.
Express TV said that four missile strikes, coming from unknown number of U.S. unmanned aircraft, pounded a compound of suspected militants in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, a restive tribal region located at Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The strikes levelled the targeted compound to the ground, killing 15 people and trapping several others under the debris.
Death toll later surged to 20 when residents pulled five more bodies out of the rubble of the compound.
Identities of the killed have not been determined yet, but some media reports said that the attack took place at a time when a meeting of Taliban militants including local and Uzbek insurgents was going on in the compound.
Wednesday morning's attack is the fifth of its kind in the area since this year. To date over 50 people have been killed and several others injured in the U.S. drone attacks in the area.
The strike came at a time when Pakistan army is launching armed offensive to clear North Waziristan Agency from the militants. So far over 400 militants have been killed in the operation.
Briefing media on Tuesday, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major Asim Saeed Bajwa said that Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan Agency, has been cleared of terrorists and troops have launched a ground offensive in Mir Ali, the second key insurgent stronghold in the agency.
Since the beginning of the military operation on June 15, two drone strikes came in Datta Khel town, located some 41 km away from Miranshah.