'Fighters killed' in Pakistan raid

Deaths reported in country's northwestern region as government forces battle the Taliban.

    Pakistan's army is laying the groundwork for a full-scale offensive against the local Taliban leader [AFP] 

    The air attacks on Sunday morning hit the Bagan, Mohammad Khel and Syed Abad areas, about 20km west of Miranshah, the main district town in the semi-autonomous mountain region bordering Afghanistan.

    An intelligence official in Miranshah confirmed the bombing and said they were still gathering information on casualties.

    Residents of the targeted areas said they saw six dead bodies, but added that civilians were also hurt.

    "We were in our houses when war planes bombed the area," one local resident said from Miranshah's main hospital, where he had taken his child for treatment after the boy was injured by shrapnel.

    Helicopter fire

    In the Orakzai region on Sunday, gunship helicopters shelled Taliban fighter positions in the Oblan and Torchapper areas.

    "At least three militants were killed and many injured in the shelling," a military official said.

    In depth

    Pakistan army 'taking back' Swat Valley
    The bombardment struck close to the site of a helicopter crash on Friday, which killed 26 security personnel.

    The Pakistani military blamed the crash on a technical fault.

    Taliban fighters, however, claim to have shot down the MI-17 in retaliation for the start of military operations in South Waziristan.

    Security forces are wrapping up a more than two-month-long campaign to dislodge Taliban fighters from northwest Swat valley, and are in the process of opening up a second front in the tribal region targeting Mehsud.

    Local media on Sunday reported that up to 26 fighters had been killed in air attacks in Orakzai on Saturday, but the paramilitary Frontier Corps military confirmed just seven deaths.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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