Six terrorists killed as helicopter gunships pound hideouts in Pakistan

Six terrorists killed as helicopter gunships pound hideouts in Pakistan

At least six terrorists were killed on Saturday when army’s helicopter gunships pounded their hideouts in Hangu district in northwest Pakistan.

Security sources said they had confirmed inputs about presence of terrorists in a compound near Thall, a city in Hangu district, who were planning attacks.

“Helicopter gunships hit the hideouts early this morning, killing some terrorists,” an official source said.

Local media reports put the toll at six.

The fresh strikes came a day after Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif said the armed forces are “battle hardened” and fully capable of countering any internal or external threat.

During a visit to the FC headquarters in Peshawar on Friday, he recounted security forces’ successes in various operations against terrorists and lauded the efforts and determination of all troops and law enforcement agencies “who cleared affected areas, with the help of local population and support of the entire nation”.

“We are fully prepared to confront any challenge in future as well,” the COAS reaffirmed, a statement released by the military’s media wing said.

The military has gone on an offensive and has carried out air strikes in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency killing at least 40 suspected terrorists this week.

The air strikes were carried out following a joint decision taken by the military and civilian leadership.

The precision bombardment was part of surgical strikes which sources said should not be taken as a full-fledged military operation.

The government has been trying to engage the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in peace talks to end the decade-long insurgency that has claimed about 40,000 lives.

However, the peace process suffered a setback after a Taliban faction beheaded 23 paramilitary personnel abducted in 2010.

The military leadership took the civilian government into confidence, citing potential threats from terrorists holed up in their safe havens in the tribal belt.

The sources said the air strikes were aimed at protecting the people as militants were making plans to carry out attacks.

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