Pakistani forces kill 24 militants in tribal area

April 20th, 2009 - 11:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 20 (DPA) Twenty-two Taliban militants and two civilians were killed as Pakistani security forces carried out aerial and artillery strikes in two districts of the country’s lawless tribal region, officials and residents said Monday.
Pakistani jets and helicopters started targeting locations of Islamist insurgents in Orakzai tribal district Sunday, and continued the strikes by Monday noon.

“The security forces have destroyed several hideouts of militants in three areas. According to the information we have received from local sources, 22 militants have been killed and more than a dozen are injured,” said a local intelligence official requesting anonymity.

The strikes began a day after a car suicide bomber attacked a military check post and convoy, killing 25 security personnel and two civilians.

Taliban militants based in Orakzai district claimed the responsibility of the Saturday’s strike that also injured more than 60 people.

A spokesman of the militants said such suicide bombings will continue till Pakistan tells US to stop missile attacks by pilotless drone aircraft, which have killed dozens of second-tier Al Qaeda leaders and Taliban fighters.

On Sunday, another similar drone strike left three suspected militants dead in tribal district of South Waziristan, which borders Orakzai, resulting into skirmishes between the rebels and Pakistani security forces.

The troops targeted militant’s positions with artillery fire. The militants’ casualties were not known but the residents said some strayed shells fell on a house and killed a couple and injured their three children.

“The mortar shells severely damaged the house which belonged to Mohammad Zaman,” said a local Sakhee Mohammad over phone. Four soldiers were also injured in the running gun battles.

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