15 militants killed, 139 held in Pak tribal regions: Officials

Peshawar/Islamabad: Pakistani security forces killed 15 militants during operations in the restive Orakzai and Khyber tribal regions today while 139 suspects were rounded up from different places in the northwest, authorities said.

Fighter jets and gunship helicopters pounded militant hideouts in Orakzai Agency and killed nine rebels. Eight militant hideouts in the mountainous region bordering Afghanistan were destroyed in the air strikes, officials said.

Militants fleeing a crackdown in Khyber and Kurram tribal regions have taken refuge in Orakzai Agency, sources said.

Local residents said jets and gunship helicopters targeted militant hideouts in Yakh Kandao, Dar Kalay, Koi Kalay, Ghiljo, Dabori and other areas.

In the Khyber Agency near Peshawar, six members of the banned Lashkar-e-Islam group were killed and four others injured during a gun battle that erupted while troops were conducting a house-to-house search in Shalobar area.

Troops also captured 90 suspected members of Lashkar-e-Islam and seized arms, ammunition and explosive materials from them.

In South Waziristan, security forces apprehended 36 suspects and seized a cache of arms and ammunition during search operations at several places in Jandola sector.

Troops destroyed 14 militant-held compounds at Nazar Khel. Two soldiers were also injured during a skirmish in Jandola sector, the military said.