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PAF fighter jets bomb militant hideouts in North Waziristan, Bara; 35 killed

PESHAWAR: At least 35 militants including some foreign fighters were killed as Pakistan Air Force jet fighters bombed militant hideouts in North Waziristan, bordering the Pak-Afghan border, ARY News reported.

The air strikes were launched in different areas of Mir Ali in North Waziristan region.

Similar strikes were launched in Bara, an area of Khyber Agency. Hideouts of suicide bombers were targeted in which scores of militants were killed in the attack.

Source said that arms and munitions of were also destroyed in the air strikes. They said the strikes were launched on concrete evidence of presence of militants in the area. The foreign militants belonging to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan were among those killed in jet bombing.

Sources informed that militants residing in the area were planning terror activities on a large scale in the country in near future.

Reuters adds: Security officials said, after attempts to engage insurgents in peace negotiations collased this week, Pakistani fighter jets bombed suspected militant hideouts in a tribal area on the Afghan border, killing at least 15 people, 

"We received information about militant hideouts and based on our intelligence, precision strikes were carried out around midnight in the Mir Ali area," an intelligence official told Reuters.

"Fifteen militants were killed in the bombing. Thirteen of them were foreign fighters."

Another security official said a cache of arms was destroyed in the strikes.

The administration of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who came to power last year promising to find a negotiated peace with the Taliban, has been trying to engage the militants in talks.

But as the talks broke down this week, the air strikes may herald a broader military offensive in North Waziristan, a region where many al Qaeda-linked militants are based.

The army publicly supports Sharif's call for talks but, in private, senior officers have expressed frustration, giving rise to talk that the military was waiting for an excuse to mount an armed operation.

This excuse may have come this week when a Taliban wing operating in the tribal Mohmand region said it had executed 23 soldiers in revenge for the killing of their fighters by army forces.

Thursday morning's air strikes also came just hours after Pakistan's army said more than 100 soldiers had been killed by Taliban militants in the last five months, a rare admission of mass casualties.

In an unusually tough statement, Sharif's spokesman said in televised remarks late on Wednesday that the Pakistan army was capable of crushing all enemies.

"The prime minister wants to resolve these issues without bloodshed but if the Taliban continue killing people then we will be left with no choice but to keep our citizens safe from terrorism through any means possible," Pervez Rashid said.

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