MIRAMSHAH: Shelling by the army's gunship helicopters and fighter jets in the early hours of Wednesday killed at least 60 suspected militants and injured another 80, some critically, in several parts of North Waziristan tribal region.

Sources said militant bases in Mosaki, Zara Mela and Esorti villages in Mir Ali tehsil were targeted, leaving scores dead and injured while the operation was also carried on parts of agengy headquarters Miramshah.

According to sources, more fatalities were expected as a result of the strikes.

Sources added that shelling by gunship helicopters and jets continued for an extended period in the area and mortar fire was also witnessed.

Sources in the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) also confirmed that around 60 militants, including some key commanders and foreign militants, were killed in the assault.

Military sources also claimed that precision strikes carried out on the basis of intelligence reports killed militants involved in terrorist activities in Peshawar, Bajaur, Mohmand agencies and other areas.

The huge operation came two days after the kidnapping of a Chinese tourist and the return of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif from Afghanistan.

On April 17, the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan had announced that it was not extending its ’40-day-ceasefire’, but said it would keep the dialogue option open provided the government took steps indicating ‘clear progress’ on its two key demands.

Later the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCNS) in which it was decided that the peace talks process with the Taliban would continue on a slow place based on a wait and see policy.

The attacks on suspected militant hideouts carried out by security forces had been witnessed from time to time.

After the end of ceasefire, the attacks by the suspected militants continued arbitrarily, specially targeting security forces.

Also read: IED blast in Mohmand tribal region kills one, injures five others

Terrorist attacks were often followed by retaliation from the armed forces in the form of airstrikes on various suspected terrorist sanctuaries.

The security forces had for the first time launched an attack on the militants’ hideouts in the mountainous Bobar area of South Waziristan tribal region on April 29, after a bomb blast had claimed lives of three security personnel, including an army officer.

The Taliban infighting was another issue which hogged the spotlight and had also thrown the government and Taliban negotiations into a hiatus. Two factions of the TTP, the umbrella grouping for disparate militant groups, have been locked in bloody clashes since at least March.

In the wake of these events the United States recently renewed pressure on the Pakistan government to act against safe havens of terrorists in its tribal areas.



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