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January 5, 2013
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20 militants killed in Tirah air raids: official

January 5, 2013

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BARA/JAMRUD: Twenty militants were killed and 12 others sustained injuries in air strikes carried out by warplanes in the Kukikhel area in Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency, official and tribal sources said on Friday.
The sources said that Pakistani jet fighters bombed the sanctuaries of the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Dwatoy and Bragat areas early Friday, killing 20 militants and causing injuries to 12 others.
The official sources said that commander Abdul Wali alias Umar Khalid, designated head of TTP for Tirah valley, was also present in Dwatoy at the time of the attack. Some reports suggested that he was among the dead. However, it couldn’t be verified from independent sources or the TTP due to lack of communication facilities in the Tirah Valley.
Following the attack, the militants cordoned off Dwatoy and restricted the movement of the locals in the area for hours in order to carry out the rescue operation. The injured were shifted to clinics being run by militants in the area. The sources added that five hideouts of the TTP were also destroyed in the aerial bombing.
Earlier this week, 14 people mostly children and women were killed when two jet-fighters hit two houses in Tabai area populated by the Malikdinkhel tribe in an area sharing border with Dwatoy. The attack drew strong condemnation from the pro-government militant outfit Ansarul Islam, which has control over the area.
The Kukikhel part of the Tirah valley fell to the TTP a few months back after the militant group defeated the Kukikhel Afridi tribal lashkar. The sources said that the Commander Tariq Afridi-led faction of TTP having bases in the valley had claimed responsibility for the assassination of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa senior minister Bashir Bilour in Peshawar and also for the killing of 22 kidnapped members of the Levies force in Frontier Region Peshawar.
They said that TTP fighters had celebrated the death of Bashir Bilour by resorting to festive firing for

two hours in Dwatoy and surrounding areas. The fresh airstrikes conducted by the Pakistani security forces might be a reaction to the assassination of Bashir Bilour and the deaths of 22 Levies personnel.

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