25 militants killed in North Waziristan airstrikes

At least 25 militants were killed in airstrikes that targeted military hideouts near Datta Khel area of North Waziristan Agency on Thursday.

“At least 25 terrorists were killed in aerial strikes ahead of Datta Khel area near the Pak-Afghan border,” an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

“The fighting had intensified in the bordering areas of Shawal, while jets have been pounding militant hideouts in the area for months,” they said.

The military has stepped up air strikes against suspected terrorists in the volatile tribal region.

Pakistan Army launched a massive operation, Zarb-e-Azb, in North Waziristan in mid-June last year to purge the erstwhile stronghold of homegrown Taliban militants and their foreign cohorts. According to an official tally released on the first anniversary of the offensive, 2,700 militants have been killed and many more wounded in combat.

Most parts of the agency have been cleansed of militants, while troops are now closing in on the remaining militants holed up in Shawal Valley on the Pak-Afghan border. Hundreds of thousands of tribesmen displaced by fighting have started returning to their homes in North Waziristan under the government supervision.

Following Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the military had launched another operation in the strategic Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency in mid-October, last year against the Mangal Bagh-led Lashkar-e-Islam extremist group and its Taliban supporters.

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