Airstrikes kill 15 suspected militants in North Waziristan

Updated December 03, 2014

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— Reuters/File
— Reuters/File

PESHAWAR: At least 15 suspected militants were killed on Wednesday during airstrikes conducted by military fighter jets in the Dattakhel area of North Waziristan tribal Agency.

According to military sources, at least 15 suspected militants, including two key commanders belonging to Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed in precision airstrikes carried out by the military.

Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a handout that hideouts and ammunition depots were also destroyed during the airstrikes.

Eight bullet-riddled bodies found in Khyber

Meanwhile, eight bullet-riddled bodies of suspected militants have been found in Pakistan's restive Khyber tribal district, officials said.

Pakistani troops recovered the eight corpses late Tuesday after they were spotted by local residents in Khyber Agency, where Taliban and Lashkar-i-Islam fighters are based.

Five bodies were recovered from one place and three from another, a senior government official in Khyber told AFP on condition of anonymity. A second official in Khyber confirmed the recovery.

However, these claims could not be independently verified as journalists have limited access to the restive tribal areas.

The army launched a fresh offensive in Khyber district this year against Lashkar-i-Islam, led by warlord Mangal Bagh who has joined hands with the homegrown Pakistani Taliban (TTP).

Neither the military nor rival militants claimed the killings.

Retired brigadier Mahmood Shah, a former security chief for the tribal areas, told AFP the deaths could also be a result of infighting among militant groups.

Pakistan's semi-autonomous areas have long been a hideout for militants of all stripes – including Al Qaeda and the TTP as well as foreign fighters.

Pakistani jets and artillery began targeting rebel strongholds in North Waziristan in mid-June and ground forces moved in on June 30. The army says it has killed more than 1,100 militants and lost more than 100 soldiers since then.

An AFP tally based on regular updates from the military puts the militant death toll at more than 1,500, with 125 soldiers killed– AFP