NORTH WAZIRISTAN: At least 19 suspected militants, including five commanders, were killed during an exchange of fire with security personnel on Sunday near the North Waziristan-Afghan border according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Seven soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing during the clash which occurred on the Laddha-Shawal axis on the boundary between North and South Waziristan.
|Site of the clash between security personnel and suspected militants. ─ Dawn GIS|
“There was information about militants, and when they were being chased and cordoned, one of them exploded his suicide vest, killing seven of our men," a security official said.
Operations against militants in North Waziristan have been stepped up after the government decided to implement the nation-wide National Action Plan combating terrorism in the country. Suspected militants have also been killed in drone strikes in the region.
Zarb-i-Azb, another military operation which targeted local and foreign militants specifically in North Waziristan was spearheaded following an attack on Karachi's Jinnah International Airport on June 8, 2014.
The government believes that Zarb-i-Azb operation will be completed by the end of 2015, after which a ‘mini-Marshall plan’ will be launched for the socio-economic progress of the people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).