PESHAWAR: At least 21 militants killed and five hideouts were destroyed on Thursday as security forces carried out air strikes in parts of Tirah valley of Khyber Agency, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.

The jets targeted militants hideouts in Akakhel and Sipah area, however, this information could not be independently verified as the access of journalists is limited in the region.

Moreover, security forces sealed all the roads leading up to Khyber's Bara, where an operation is expected to begin soon. Security forces also launched a search operation in the Shakas area of Khyber.

Also read: Over 500 Akkakhel families leave Tirah

On the other hand, anticipating a military operation more than 500 families had left their homes in Dars Jumaat, Shaddaly, Darota and Kulla areas of Akakhel in Tirah valley during the last three days, sources said.

The strikes are part of the ongoing military operation named Zarb-i-Azb, initiated on June 15 first against anti-state militants hiding in the North Waziristan Agency.

The operation was launched after the Taliban and their ethnic Uzbek allies both claimed responsibility for the attack on Karachi airport and peace talks failed between the government and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) negotiators.

Nearly a million people have fled the offensive in North Waziristan, which is aimed at wiping out longstanding militant strongholds in the area.

Khyber, where the recent strikes targeted suspected militant hideouts, is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous regions governed by tribal laws and lies near the Afghan border. The Taliban and other Al Qaeda-linked groups, who stage attacks in both countries, are known to have strongholds in the zone.

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