Pakistani troops kill up to 40 militants in Swat

February 3rd, 2009 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Feb 3 (DPA) Up to 40 Islamic militants were killed in overnight clashes between the rebels and government forces in Pakistan’s restive Swat valley, an official said Tuesday.”Artillery and helicopter gunships targeted several locations of insurgents in Khwazakhela subdistrict,” said a military official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“According to the locals, between 30 and 40 insurgents were killed, while the number of those injured in the strikes is much higher,” he added.

The security forces were making advances in the militant stronghold of Khwazakhela following the overnight operation.

Swat, which is located around 100 km north-west of Islamabad, was a popular tourist destination until 2007 when Islamic militants launched an armed campaign to enforce Taliban-style rule in the area.

Pakistan deployed thousands of soldiers to quell the rebellion. After nearly two years’ fighting, which left hundreds of people dead, Islamist militants still control around 70 percent of the district.

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