SOUTH WAZIRISTAN - At least 17 suspected Taliban fighters including a key commander were killed and seven others injured when US drones fired a volley of missiles at militant compounds in South Waziristan Agency on Sunday.Three US spy planes fired at least eight missiles at two compounds housing the militants in Babargarh area killing 17 militants and injuring over half a dozen others. Both the hideouts were destroyed completely in attack. Babargarh area is located near Afghanistan border. It has been learnt that the compounds were being used as hideouts by the militants. Sources confirmed that at least 17 militants were killed and seven more injured in the attack. People residing in Babargarh said several drones were seen hovering over the area after the attack.This was the second drone attack in South Waziristan in last four days. Earlier, a key militant commander Mullah Nazir was killed in a US missile attack on Thursday last.A day earlier, thousands of tribesmen protested against US drone strikes in Wana of South Waziristan Agency. The covert US drone strikes are publicly criticised by the Pakistani government as a breach of sovereignty but the US officials believe they are a vital weapon in the war against militants. Islamabad has time and again protested against drone attacks but US looks in no mood to halt strikes.Agencies add: Sources said that commander Wali Muhammad Mehsud aka Tufan Mehsud, a key Taliban figure, was reportedly killed in the strikes. According to reports, the militant commander was a close relative of TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud and succeeded another commander Qari Hussian following his killing.The identity of the killed militants was not immediately known, three officials said speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, but two important commanders of the TTP - including the head of a training unit for suicide bombers - may be among them.The intelligence officials said that informants had told them one of the two dead commanders was Wali Muhammad Mehsud who headed a wing of the group that trained suicide bombers. His predecessor, Qari Husain Mehsud, was believed to have been killed in a US missile strike in late 2011.A security official in Miranshah told AFP, “There are members of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) among those who have been killed. We are trying to ascertain the identities of the others but the bodies have been burnt very badly,” the official said.Another security official in the Peshawar confirmed the drone attacks and casualties. Intelligence officials in Miranshah said they had received reports that 12 militants had died after US drones fired up to 10 missiles on three militant compounds in the Babar Ghar attack, but other officials could not verify that account.Residents said that militants had cordoned off the area and were looking for more dead or wounded in the debris.