MIRANSHAH (AFP) Two separate US missile strikes targeting Al-Qaeda-linked fighters in the northwest tribal belt on Wednesday killed 17 suspected militants, local security officials said. A pre-dawn attack was directed at the Haqqani network, officials said, a group with links to both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and one of the toughest foes for foreign forces in the war in neighbouring Afghanistan. This month alone, a surge in US missile strikes has now killed 85 people in the tribal belt. Several US drones fired eight missiles at two militant compounds early this morning, killing at least 12 militants, a senior security official told AFP of the first attack. The missile strike targeted militants of the Haqqani network. The barrage hit the village of Dargah Mandi on the outskirts of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district, where US missiles also killed 15 militants in two separate attacks Tuesday. Created by Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani and run by his son Sirajuddin, the Haqqani network is linked to both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and has become a particularly prickly thorn in the side of US-led forces trying to bring security to eastern Afghanistan. Residents said the targeted houses had been rented out to militants by a local tribesman and were destroyed in the attacks, which caused panic in the village. As the US drones came over the village people started shouting and running here and there shouting 'run, drones have come, one local tribesman told AFP, requesting anonymity for fear militants might harm him. The intelligence official put the number of missiles fired at 10, saying several drones came from all directions, while another said three militants were also wounded in the strike. The second attack later Wednesday US drones fired two missiles into another suspected militant compound in Payekhel village of Datta Khel district of North Waziristan, killing five rebels and wounding three others, local security officials said. Security officials said those killed in the first strike were Pakistani militants affiliated with the Haqqani network. The identity of the militants killed in the second strike, the 13th such attack this month, could not be immediately ascertained.