Key commanders of Hafiz Gul Bahadur group killed in airstrikes in Pakistan

Airstrikes by the Pakistani military in the Datakhel tehsil of the North Waziristan tribal area killed at least seven key commanders of the Hafiz Gul Bahadur militant group, media reported Sunday.

Peshawar: Airstrikes by the Pakistani military in the Datakhel tehsil of the North Waziristan tribal area killed at least seven key commanders of the Hafiz Gul Bahadur militant group, media reported Sunday.

Pakistani F16 fighter jets targeted the militants' compound and a vehicle in Seen Tanga area of the Datakhel tehsil, Dawn online reported.

Military sources confirmed that the strikes were carried out against the militants in the area, but their identity and the causality figure was yet to be ascertained.

Hafiz Gul Bahadur is the commander of the Shura Mujahideen in North Waziristan and the leader of a Pakistani Taliban faction based in the area.

Upon the formation of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in December 2007, he was announced as the militant group's overall "naib amir" under Baitullah Mehsud, who was based in South Waziristan, but had largely distanced himself from the TTP owing to rivalries with Mehsud and disagreements over the TTP's attacks against the Pakistani state.

He had signed a peace deal with the Pakistani army in 2006, which was renewed in 2008.

Bahadur however, withdrew from the agreement citing the military operation in North Waziristan as a violation of the peace treaty.

He is also believed to be associated with the Haqqani group while leading his own group of the Taliban in North Waziristan distinct from the TTP.

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