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April 10, 2013
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110 militants, 23 soldiers killed in Tirah fighting: officials

April 10, 2013

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PESHAWAR: The military authorities on Tuesday said they had launched a major military operation against the militants in the remote Tirah Valley of the restive Khyber tribal region in which 110 militants and 23 soldiers had been killed.
“After their expulsion from the rest of the tribal areas as a result of military operations, the militants had gathered in Tirah Valley of the Khyber tribal region to continue terrorist acts in the country.
“A major military operation was launched against the militants four days ago to dismantle their sanctuaries. In the four days of fighting, 110 militants and 23 Pakistan Army soldiers have been killed and dozens of militants injured,” a senior military official told The News.
Pleading anonymity, he said fierce fighting was still going on in the valley between the security forces and militants to wrest control of the area.The official said the valley had not been cleared of the militants yet, though jet fighters and gunship helicopters had pounded the positions of militants. “The militants from all over the tribal regions had gathered in Tirah to establish sanctuaries and that’s why they are offering stiff resistance to security forces,” the army official said.
The remote and mountainous Tirah Valley, located about 65 kilometres southwest of Bara, has been a stronghold of the militants. “From the Tirah Valley, they easily sneak into the neighbouring Orakzai and Kurram tribal regions and carry out attacks on security forces and then cross into Afghanistan and target the Nato forces,” the official said.
He said apart from the fighters of Mangal Bagh-led Lashkar-e-Islam, hundreds of Taliban militants led by Hakimullah Mahsud had also arrived in the Tirah Valley to offer resistance to security forces.

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