Pakistani security officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike has killed at least five people in a tribal region near the Afghan border.

Pakistani authorities say the strike hit Machi Khel village Monday in North Waziristan.  A security official told the French news agency that most of the casualties were Taliban militants. 

Local residents say they saw what appeared to be planes flying above the area before the missile strike.

The United States has fired more than 40 missiles from unmanned aircraft, known as drones, to target al-Qaida and Taliban strongholds in Pakistan's northwest.

U.S. officials rarely discuss the strikes, which Pakistan has publicly criticized as counterproductive and a violation of its sovereignty.

On Sunday, Pakistan's military said it killed 36 suspected militants in two separate operations in the country's northwest.

Government forces killed three militants and captured at least nine others during a gunbattle in Swat Valley.

And Pakistan's paramilitary forces said troops killed 33 insurgents in Khyber tribal region, as part of an operation targeting the Taliban-affiliated group Lashkar-e-Islam.

The offensive was launched last week after a suicide bombing at a border checkpoint killed at least 21 people, most of them police.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.