Pakistan troops kill 12 militants in Orakzai
Peshawar: Pakistani troops backed by gunship helicopters on Sunday destroyed three hideouts, killing 12 militants in the restive northwesten Orakzai tribal region.
Ground forces conducted operations in Sanghra, Saam and Nakhtaro Ghar areas of Orakzai agency today, official sources said.
Twelve militants were killed in the operations and three militant hideouts were destroyed, they said.
Security officials have claimed that about 300 militants have been killed since an operation was launched in Orakzai Agency to flush out pro-Taliban militants. About a dozen security personnel have also died in the fighting.
Troops are expected to face tough resistance when they move into the upper areas of Orakzai Agency, especially Mamozai, which is considered a stronghold of the militants.
Pro-Taliban militants also blew up a state-run school in the troubled Mohmand tribal region though there were no reports of casualties.
Rebels have destroyed hundreds of state-run schools in northwest Pakistan over the past two years.
Forty schools have been destroyed in Mohmand Agency while another 60 were destroyed in Bajaur tribal region.
Meanwhile, conflicting reports have emerged about air strikes carried out by Pakistani jets in the Tirah area of Khyber tribal region yesterday.
Nearly 50 people were killed in the attacks.
Tribal elders told the media that the jets targeted a jirga or tribal council that was discussing ways to evict militants from the area.
They insisted that most of the dead were civilians, including women and children.
A media report said one of the homes targeted by the jets belonged to the father of a Pakistani soldier.
However, state-run APP news agency quoted official sources as denying the reports regarding the killing of civilians in the air strikes.
The official sources said security forces had targeted terrorists who had built fortified bunkers and hideouts in Tirah valley.
The terrorists were targeted after "ground confirmation by intelligence sources of their presence in the pointed hideouts," the sources said.
Intelligence reports had confirmed that 35 militants were killed in Tirah valley, they added.
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