Three civilians among 28 killed in Pakistan (Lead)

September 11th, 2008 - 12:29 am ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Sep 10 (Xinhua) Al least 28 people, including three civilians, were killed as security forces pounded militants’ hideouts in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region Wednesday, the Dawn News reported. The security forces pounded militants’ hideouts with jets in Bajaur tribal agency in North-West Frontier Province, killing 28 people, including three civilians, said the report.

Backed by gunship helicopters, the Pakistan Army and paramilitary Frontier Corps Tuesday launched a joint major and first-ever ground operation against militants in the tribal agency bordering Afghanistan.

According to reports, seven suspected militants were killed in the Tuesday operation.

Earlier, the Pakistan Army claimed to have killed at least 11 Islamic militants in the restive Swat district in the same province Wednesday.

“Our troops targeted insurgents’ positions with artillery fire in Kuza Bandai area of the district this morning. According to initial reports, 11 miscreants were killed and many injured in the action,” army spokesman Major Murad Khan said.

The clashes in Swat started in October last year when the government dispatched troops to quell the rebellion of radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah and thousands of his followers who launched a campaign to enforce Taliban rule in the area.

The government’s action triggered months of fighting which killed hundreds.

Pakistan’s new civilian government started peace talks with the Swat militants in March immediately after it took office. But that did not stop the violence, and the government resumed its military offensives in early July.

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