© AP Photo/Ishtiaq Mahsud, File
In this Friday, April 20, 2007, file photo, the commander of a tribal militia, Maulvi Nazir, center, flanked by his bodyguards, speaks to journalists at Wana, the main town of Pakistan's tribal region of South Waziristan, along the Afghan border. Intelligence officials said suspected American drones fired several missiles into three militant hideouts near Afghan border on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, the third suspected strike in five days, killing at least nine Pakistani Taliban fighters.
Several missiles fired from American drones slammed into a compound near the Afghan border in Pakistan early Tuesday, killing eight suspected militants, Pakistan officials said.

The two intelligence officials said the compound was located near the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan tribal area.

One of the officials said an al Qaeda operative was believed to have been killed in the strike.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

North Waziristan, the area where the strike occurred, is considered a stronghold for insurgent groups operating in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is one of the few parts of the tribal areas that border Afghanistan in which the Pakistani military has not conducted a military operation to root out militants, despite repeated pushes to do so from the American government.

Tuesday's strike was the fourth since the new year began.

On Sunday nine Pakistani Taliban fighters were killed when American missiles fired from several drones flying overhead slammed into three militant hideouts in another tribal area, South Waziristan.

The militant in charge of training suicide bombers for the Pakistani Taliban was believed by Pakistan intelligence officials to have died in Sunday's strike.

On Jan. 2, a drone strike killed a top Pakistani militant commander, Maulvi Nazir. He was accused of carrying out deadly attacks against American and other targets across the border in Afghanistan. But unlike most members of the Taliban in Pakistan, he negotiated a truce with the Pakistani military in 2009 and did not attack Pakistani troops or domestic targets.

The U.S.'s covert drone program is extremely controversial in Pakistan where many in the country look at it as an infringement on their sovereignty. Many Pakistanis complain that innocent civilians have also been killed, something the U.S. rejects.

Islamabad officially opposes the use of U.S. drones on its territory, but is believed to have tacitly approved some strikes in past.