MIRANSHAH - A US drone attack Saturday killed at least 12 people in Shawal district of North Waziristan as tribesmen were celebrating Eidul Fitr, security officials said.

The attack was the first since Pakistan’s spymaster, Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam, held talks with his CIA counterpart in Washington earlier this month in which drone strikes were said to have been discussed.

The drone fired two missiles on a compound in Shuidar village in Shawal district of the troubled North Waziristan region, considered a stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants. “US drones fired two missiles into a militant compound. Several bodies have been recovered from the compound so far,” said a security official.

The US spy planes continued hovering over the area for long time creating panic among tribesmen. Residents and local intelligence officials confirmed the attack. The missiles also destroyed a car parked at the compound, they said. The attack came as people in the deeply religious region were celebrating Eidul Fitr, they said. It was the third drone attack since the start of the Ramazan.

Agencies add: It was not immediately clear if the missiles targeted any senior militant leader. Intelligence officials said Saturday’s strike targeted allies of Hafiz Gul Bahadur. The officials say three militants were also wounded in the strike. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media. Attacks by unmanned American aircraft are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiments, but US officials are said to believe the attacks are too important to give up.

Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds: Pakistan has strongly protested the US drone attacks in North Waziristan on Saturday morning.

In a statement, Foreign Office spokesman said Pakistan has consistently maintained that these attacks are a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and also in contravention of international law.