MIRANSHAH - At least 25 people were killed and several others injured in five US drone strikes during the last few days in North Waziristan tribal region.

In the latest attack, a US drone strike killed two suspected militants in North Waziristan, the latest in a rapid escalation of strikes this week.

The strike in Datta Khel was the fifth drone strike in four days. Strikes resumed in June after a hiatus of six months.

Earlier in the day on Wednesday, six people were killed and 11 injured when a US drone fired two missiles on militant commander Mustaqeem’s centre in the Kandghar area of Shawal.

According to sources, the drone targeted the house of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Habib, where a large number of people were present to attend a meeting.

Missiles from US drones also hit a gathering of militants and a suspected training camp in North Waziristan in two attacks on Tuesday, killing at least eight people, security officials said.

Attacks by US drones have intensified in recent months after a pause in the first half of this year. Tuesday’s attacks mark the third and fourth drone strike in three days.

In the first attack, three missiles from the unmanned aircraft hit a suspected training camp in Shawal area of North Waziristan just after midday in which six suspected militants were reportedly killed and nine injured.

In the second attack, missiles hit a gathering of militants on a mountain in Dattakhel region in North Waziristan, killing two people and wounding at least four on Tuesday evening, sources said.

Earlier on Monday, a US drone fired two missiles on a house in Kandghar area of Shawal district, killing at least five people, including a key militant commander and injuring three others.

It is the tenth US drone strike in North Waziristan Agency this year. At least 16 people were killed in the strike on Dargah Mandi area on June 11. Another six were killed in the same area on June 18. On July 10, six people were killed in a US drone strike in Dattakhel area while 22 people were killed in the same area on July 16 and 19. As many as six people were killed in a drone attack on August 6 in Dattakhel area and 10 people were killed in the attack in Lorhan Mandi area on September 24.

US drone strikes are widely unpopular in Pakistan where many consider them a violation of national sovereignty that also killed civilians. Washington has long used drone strikes against militants in the areas.

Pakistan Army also launched a major anti-militant offensive in the area in mid-June and has killed more than 1,000 militants so far, with 86 soldiers losing their lives in the operation.

The United States halted drone strikes in Pakistan for the first six months of 2014 while the government remained engaged in ultimately fruitless peace talks with Taliban. But the strikes restarted on June 11, just four days before the military announced an anti-Taliban offensive in the remote region of North Waziristan along the Afghan border. Many of the militants who fled the offensive are believed to be hiding in the Shawal valley, a thickly forested, mountainous area.

AFP adds from Peshawar: Talat Masood, a retired general and security analyst, said the frequency of strikes was unusually high. “The frequency is higher than it has been in the past. It seems they are trying to target some very important person as far as they are concerned. They seem to be focusing on him or that group,” he said.