Airstrikes kill 65 militants in North Waziristan
PESHAWAR: At least 65 suspected terrorists were killed in fresh air raids in North Waziristan and Khyber tribal agencies on Monday, according to the military. The air blitz came a day after the military claimed killing nearly 40 terrorists in North Waziristan.
Warplanes bombed bases and compounds belonging to militants in Shawal and Gharlamai areas of North Waziristan, the military’s media wing, the ISPR, said in a press statement. As a result of the air strikes, 50 militants were killed, it added. According to the ISPR, militants’ infrastructures along with explosives depot were also decimated.
The aerial strikes came hours after fighter jets targeted hideouts of militants in the Rajgal area of Khyber Agency. Precise air strikes were carried out close to the Pak-Afghan border in an inaccessible part of Tirah Valley, the military said in another statement.
Several dens of militants were destroyed in the blitz, it further said, adding that at least 15 militants, among them two would-be suicide bombers, were killed.
The military’s claims could not be independently verified as the region is off-limits to the media.
The military had launched a massive operation, Zarb-e-Azb, in North Waziristan in mid-June last year to purge the erstwhile stronghold of homegrown Taliban militants and their foreign cohorts. According to an official tally released on the first anniversary of the offensive, 2,700 militants have been killed and many more wounded in combat.
Most parts of the agency have been cleansed of militants, while troops are now closing in on the remaining militants holed up in Shawal Valley on the Pak-Afghan border. Hundreds of thousands of tribesmen displaced by fighting have started returning to their homes in North Waziristan under the government supervision.
Following Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the military had launched another operation in the strategic Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency in mid-October, last year against the Mangal Bagh-led Lashkar-e-Islam extremist group and its Taliban supporters.
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