MIRANSHAH - A US drone aircraft killed nine suspected militants on Saturday in Pakistan's North Waziristan region near the Afghan border, Pakistani security officials said.

The controversial drone program, a key element in US counter-terrorism efforts, is highly unpopular in Pakistan where it is considered a violation of sovereignty which causes unacceptable civilian casualties.

In Saturday's strike, a drone fired missiles at a compound in the Shawal area of North Waziristan, killing the nine, said the officials who declined to be identified.

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