At least 36 killed in helicopter shelling, raids by military troops after suicide bombing on a military checkpoint.
A day after a suicide bomber targeted a security checkpoint in North Waziristan, killing five soldiers and wounding 34 others, Pakistan’s military responded by mounting helicopter and mortar attacks on militants in the tribal district.
A senior military official said 23 militants were killed overnight in fighting with security forces in North Waziristan, a known hotbed of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Al Qaeda-linked militants.
Ten more militants—most of them Uzbeks—were killed in a fresh search operation in Mirali town on Thursday, the military said.
Security forces launched the operation following an intelligence tip-off that terrorists were busy preparing vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the military said in a statement.
Clashes erupted after the insurgents attacked a convoy of security forces, which was returning after rescuing soldiers wounded in Wednesday’s bombing, the military official said on condition of anonymity.
Helicopters attacked compounds in the morning while troops fired mortars at intervals throughout the day at suspected militant hideouts.
A senior security official said the cordon and search operation was still going on in the town of Mir Ali and surrounding areas.
Local resident Mohabbat Khan said the security forces also demolished a few compounds in the area where they suspected the presence of rebels. He added that the landline telephone service had been suspended in the area.
Earlier, local security officials said six of the suspected militants had been killed during raids on two hotels. “Pakistani security forces raided two hotels in the area close to the site of the suicide bombing and intense gunbattles left six suspected militants dead and 12 others wounded,” said a local security official.
Separately, shells fired by security forces hit a house in Moski village and killed a woman and her two daughters, the local official said. Military officials did not confirm the civilian deaths.