PESHAWAR - At least seven suspected militants were killed and three sustained injuries when a US drone targeted a house in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan Agency on Wednesday.

According to details, unmanned US aircraft fired at least four missiles at a house situated in Dattakhel locality. Seven militants were killed in the strike.

Sources said that the dead included local and foreign militants. The US drones hovered over the region before and after the attack. The targeted compound was destroyed completely.

It was the fourth such drone strike since start of a military operation on June 15 in North Waziristan Agency to wipe out the bases of both local and foreign militants. More than 600 militants have so far been killed in the military offensive.

Agencies add: Some reports said the incident took place in the Lawara Mandi border village, some 60 kilometres west of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal district.

US drone strikes have picked up since the military offensive in Waziristan after a near six-month hiatus. Since June 12 five drone strikes have been reported in the tribal areas by Pakistani officials.

"A drone fired two missiles at a compound in Lawara Mandi and at least seven militants were killed," a senior security official in the region told AFP.

Local intelligence officials said that some Uzbeks and members of the Haqqani network, which is blamed for numerous bloody attacks in Afghanistan, were also among dead.

Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Afghan border have for years been a hideout for militants of all stripes - including Al-Qaeda and the homegrown Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.

Washington pressed Islamabad for years to take action to wipe out sanctuaries in North Waziristan, which militants have used to launch attacks on Nato forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The assault by Pakistan's military was launched after a dramatic attack by militants on Karachi airport, which killed dozens of people and marked the end of a faltering peace process with the Pakistani Taliban.

Pakistan routinely protests against US drone strikes, which have been targeting militants in the tribal areas since 2004, saying they are a violation of sovereignty and counterproductive in the fight against terror.

But most analysts believe the resumption of the drone programme after it was mothballed reportedly to give Pakistan space to carry its negotiations with the Taliban is evidence of collusion between the two countries - strongly denied by the government and military officials.

More than 800,000 people have been forced to flee from North Waziristan by the assault, with most ending up in the nearby town of Bannu.

There have been fears that many top militants also fled, including fighters from the feared Haqqani network which is blamed for numerous bloody attacks in Afghanistan.