Published On: Wed, Jan 22nd, 2014
Published in Category: District News

Security forces launch air strikes against militants in NWA: 23 terrorists killed

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MIRANSHAH: Security forces have launched air strikes against suspected militant positions in North Waziristan on Tuesday in the wake of suicide bomb attacks that killed dozens including security personals.

Military sources said air force fighter jets and army helicopter gunships were being used to eliminate sanctuaries of the militants in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan. So far 23 militants have been killed in the offensive

Military officials said fighter jets were targeting only militant positions around the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan. Following a wave of fighter jets strikes, the army later called in helicopter gunships to shell suspected hideouts.

“The action is still in progress in which fighter jets and helicopter gunships are targeting hideouts of the militants,” a military official told NBC News.

Residents of Mir Ali, however, complained that Pakistani security forces were targeting residential areas and had killed innocent villagers.

Mohibullah Khan, a resident of Esori village, said Pakistani jets started heavy bombardment early in the morning and flattened several houses in Esori, Hasu Khel and Haider Khel villages.

He said 15 people, including women and children and elderly, were killed and many others injured.

Another villager, Sharifullah, said the majority of the villagers spent their night in the open because of the bombing of their villages during the night.

Local officials imposed a curfew in the area and told people to stay indoors until further order.

Pakistan government officials said the strikes were in retaliation for the recent attacks on Pakistani forces in Bannu and Rawalpindi.

The action was the first military operation in North Waziristan, considered a stronghold of al-Qaeda and other militant groups, since the Pakistani government signed a peace accord with a local Taliban group headed by Hafiz Gul Bahadur in 2007.

It was the first time the air force has resorted to aerial strikes in the region since it struck a ceasefire agreement with local Taliban chiefs in 2007.
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