MIRANSHAH (Reuters) A US drone aircraft fired three missiles into Pakistans North Waziristan Agency on the Afghan border on Wednesday, killing eight militants, Pakistani intelligence officials and residents said. The strike targeted a stronghold of the Haqqani network, a major Taliban faction attacking Western forces across the border in Afghanistan. A similar strike last week in the same area killed a son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the leader of the group. Fire broke out after the missiles exploded in Dargi Mandi village, 4 km (2.5 miles) north of North Waziristans main town of Miranshah. Thick clouds of smoke are still coming from the area, said a Reuters reporter in Miranshah. Pakistani intelligence agency officials said eight militants were killed, including three foreigners, but they said they had no information about their identity. Residents said militants had cordoned off the area and were allowing no one to approach. Muhammad Hashim, a son of Haqqani, was killed in a strike in nearby Dandi Darpakhel village last week. But another son of Haqqani, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is a much more high-profile target of the US drones because he has effectively taken over leadership of the militant faction from his elderly father. US ally Pakistan officially objects to the drone strikes, saying they are a violation of its sovereignty and fuel anti-US feeling, which complicates Pakistans efforts against militancy. However, at least some strikes are carried out with the consent of Islamabad, in particular those on Pakistani Taliban militants fighting the state. The Haqqani faction does not launch attacks in Pakistan, but sends fighters across the border into Afghanistan from its stronghold in lawless North Waziristan.