Airstrikes, gun battle kills 60 militants in Pakistan

Airstrikes, gun battle kills 60 militants in Pakistan

About 60 militants were killed in airstrikes by Pakistan military and a gun battle that ensued after terrorists attacked army check posts in the volatile northwest tribal region, officials said today.

The militants attacked the check posts in Shindara and Khazana Kandao in Orakzai Agency near the Afghan border early this morning and Pakistani troops repulsed the assault, killing 20 militants and injuring 20 others.

At least four soldiers were also injured in the shootout. They have been brought to Peshawar for treatment.

Meanwhile, 39 militants, including two terrorist commanders, were killed in airstrikes by Pakistani fighter jets in the restive Dattakhel area.

"Yesterday Dattakhel strikes; Took out huge UG ammo depot, explosions heard even by pilots. Death toll rises to 39 incl 2 Terrorist comds," military spokesman Asim Bajwa tweeted.

Also yesterday, hundreds of terror suspects were arrested across Pakistan while 10 unregistered religious seminaries were sealed in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as the the government stepped up its offensive against militants.

Orakzai is one of Pakistan's seven semi-autonomous tribal regions in the northwest, where militants linked to Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda are believed to have their stronghold.

The region was a hideout of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud before he was killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan in 2013.

Pakistani army in June launched a military campaign named 'Zarb-e-Azb' and Khyber-I against militants in the tribal regions of North Waziristan and Khyber respectively and intensified the operation after the recent Taliban attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that killed 150 people, mostly children.

In the aftermath of the attack, Pakistan has decided to form a federal counter-terrorism force, directed financial bodies to check funding to militants and set up a panel for implementing the plan to deal with the scourge of militancy.

According to ISPR, the media wing of the army, it has killed over 1,200 militants since the start of operation Zerb-e-Azb in June against militants in North Waziristan.

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