Islamabad, Pakistan -- A suspected U.S. drone strike in the Pakistani tribal region killed 21 suspected militants on Friday, intelligence officials said.
The drone fired five missiles on a hideout in the area of Mir Ali of North Waziristan, one of the seven districts of Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan, two intelligence officials said.
The officials said the militants, who were staying in the hideout, were planning to move in Afghanistan for an attack against coalition forces.
The militants were local Taliban members from Orakzai agency, another district of Pakistan's tribal region, who were trained for war, the officials said.
The intelligence officials asked not be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Friday's drone strike was the 20 this year compared with 111 in all of 2010, based on a CNN tally.
The strike also comes two days after Pakistan issued a strongly-worded statement condemning deadly suspected U.S. drone strikes in the country's tribal region.
"Drone attacks have become a core irritant in the counter-terror campaign," a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday. "We have repeatedly said that such attacks are counter productive and only contribute to strengthen the hands of the terrorists."
The U.S. does not officially acknowledge the CIA's secret drone program in Pakistan, but it is the only country operating in the region with the capacity to carry out such strikes.
It was once widely believed that the program had the tacit approval and cooperation of Pakistan's intelligence agency.