Khyber PakhtoonKhuwa

Military air strikes kill 33 militants in Datta Khel

BANNU: Pakistani gunship helicopters on Monday pounded hideouts of suspected militants and killed at least 33 of them in a fresh air offensive, ARY News reported.

The airstrikes were carried out in Datta Khel and Gharlamai districts of North Waziristan wherein 33 militants were killed.

AFP adds: “In two different aerial engagements in North Waziristan today, nine terrorist hideouts were destroyed killing a total of 33 terrorists,” a military statement said.

Local security officials said the militants killed in the Datta Khel area were mostly Uzbeks and others who belonged to the feared Haqqani network.

Pakistan has been battling Islamist groups in its semi-autonomous tribal belt since 2004, after its army entered the region to search for Al-Qaeda fighters who had fled across the border following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

In June the army began an offensive against militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal agency after a bloody raid on Karachi Airport ended faltering peace talks between the government and the Taliban.

North Waziristan is a major base for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

The United States had long called for action against militant groups in North Waziristan, who have used the area as a staging post for attacks against NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s army says it has killed more than a thousand militants and lost 86 soldiers since the start of the operation.

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