Pakistani security officials say a U.S. drone strike has killed at least nine suspected militants in the country's northwest.
The missiles hit a compound Monday in the Shawal area of the North Waziristan tribal agency near the Afghan border — a known hub for al-Qaida and Taliban-linked militants. Officials say the compound is linked to militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur.
Pakistan has repeatedly criticized the drone strikes, saying they violate the country's sovereignty. Last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States had no plans to curtail the strikes on Pakistani soil, saying Washington has always made very clear that it will defend itself.
Panetta's comments came after the White House confirmed the killing of al-Qaida's second-in-command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, in an apparent drone strike in North Waziristan.