Pak army captures Hakimullah's hometown; drone attack kills 18

Troops entered Kotkai, the hometown of Hakimullah Mehsud and his close aide Qari Hussain, also known as trainer of suicide bombers, late last night after subjecting the village to heavy bombing by fighters and attack helicopters.

In the intense battle, 13 militants and two soldiers were killed, raising the Taliban death toll during Operation Rah-e-Nijat to 163.

The capture of the town was announced by a military statement and this opens the way for troops to assault the Taliban main hubs of Saragoha and Jandola.
The army had begun to clear the town of landmines and roadside bombs planted by the Taliban, the army said.

It announced that its forces were targetting top Taliban leadership. Military sources said both Hakimullah and Hussain were not present when the troops entered Kotkai, but they believe that the two commanders are present in the area directing militant operations.
As the army operation entered a crucial phase, US drones, after a brief lull, today struck a Taliban hideout in Chuhacra village in Bajaur, killing 18 militants including kin of top Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Mohamad.

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