Pak army kills 35 fleeing militants in air attacks

Pak army kills 35 fleeing militants in air attacksISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s air strikes today killed at least 35 militants who were trying to flee from the restive North Waziristan tribal region, where the military is mounting a major offensive against the Taliban militants.

“Today early morning 35 fleeing terrorists were killed through aerial strikes in Shawal Valley,” the military said in a short one line statement.

Pakistan last month launched operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ to eliminate local and foreign militants from their bases in the North Waziristan, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal districts.

The strikes came after deadly clashes yesterday in which five soldiers and 11 militants were killed in Mirali area of the district.

So far more than 480 rebels have been killed.

Meanwhile, thousands of people from five villages bordering Afghanistan in Bajaur tribal region have fled after reports said that army was planning operation against militants hiding there, officials said today.

The government had given the militants Tuesday afternoon as deadline to leave the remote villages in Mamond sub division of the tribal district, said an official from office the Political Agent, the top civilian district administrator.

He said more than 20,000 people have left so far.

The security forces had identified Nakhtar, Ghakhi, Mula Killi, Gohati and Kitkoot border villages for operation as militants coming from Afghanistan use them for hiding and carrying out attack at security forces inside Pakistan.

Last week three soldiers including an officer were killed in a cross border raid by militants who entered from Afghanistan and later fled back.

Pakistan has asked Kabul several times to act against these militants.

Dawn reported that a tribal jirga (meeting of elders) led by a member of National Assembly, Haji Bismillah Khan, has begun efforts to persuade security officials to withdraw the decision for launching military operation in the region.

Sources said that the jirga would meet security officials and members of the administration today. -PTI

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