close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
May 22, 2014

71 militants, four soldiers killed in NWA air strikes, gunfight

Sports

May 22, 2014

PESHAWAR: Fighter aircraft of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) early Wednesday pounded dozens of suspected positions of local and foreign militants in the volatile North Waziristan Agency and killed 60 people, majority of them believed to be militants.
Eleven more terrorists and four soldiers were killed in a gunfight after shelling by the fighter aircraft.The Pakistan Army-run Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had earlier in the day reported that 32 militants had been killed and several others injured in the pre-dawn air strikes by the PAF and the army in Mir Ali and Miranshah Tehsils of North Waziristan. Later, the ISPR raised the figure of the dead militants to 60 and said foreigners too had been killed. It said 30 other militants were wounded in the air strikes. The Pakistan Army’s gunship helicopters and artillery also took part in the sudden military operation.
The ISPR press release stated that the air strikes were carried out on “confirmed intelligence reports” on terrorists’ hideouts.“As per the reports so far, 60 hardcore terrorists, including some of the important commanders and foreigners, had been killed in the strikes and around 30 were injured. Huge cache of arms and ammunition, including explosive material used in IEDs, had also been destroyed in thestrikes,” the statement said.
The ISPR statement said a large number of civilians and personnel of security forces had been killed in various attacks by the terrorists, including the IED blasts and suicide attacks in Fata, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi.
“Intelligence reports and other investigations confirmed the linkage of these terrorist acts with the terrorists targeted today (Wednesday). They were hiding in North Waziristan,” the statement added.
Military officials in Peshawar gave the same figures to The News. Tribal sources, however, insisted that 60 people had been killed alone in the Mir Ali Subdivision and 15 others killed in Land Mohammadkhel near

Miranshah.
“We were asleep when heavy explosions started in Mir Ali. We thought the drones had fired missiles. However, when we came out of our rooms, we noticed fighter jets bombing the villages,” Abdur Rasheed, a tribesman in Mir Ali, told The News by phone.
He said over a dozen houses had been pounded in Hassukhel, Hormaz, Mosaki, Zara Mela and Issori villages in Mir Ali, located about 30 kilometres east of the main town of Miranshah, North Waziristan. Bagan, Landay Mohammadkhel and Saidabad villages were also attacked.
The tribesman said that following the missile strikes by the fighter aircraft, four Pakistan Army helicopter gunships arrived and started bombing the suspected sanctuaries of militants.“The villagers and militants retrieved 60 bodies from 10 houses in these villages that had collapsed in the bombing. More than two dozen people had been injured but couldn’t be shifted to hospital as the local administration had imposed a curfew in North Waziristan since Wednesday morning and that’s why the death toll is likely to rise,” he noted.
He said some of the bodies remained under the wreckage of the houses flattened in the bombing as the people couldn’t retrieve them due to the curfew and because the helicopter gunships were still flying in the area.
Tribal sources in Mir Ali said several shops and markets had also been attacked by the fighter aircraft.The residents of Mosaki, Issori and Hassukhel fled their homes and took shelter with other relatives and friends in the adjoining villages of Mir Ali Tehsil.
Tribal sources said the fighter aircraft targeted four houses in Land Mohammadkhel and killed many people, some of them believed to be militants. Besides 15 dead, eight other people suffered injuries in the bombing, said the tribal sources.
The intense air strikes took place at a time when the three-and-a half-month-old peace talks between the Nawaz Sharif government and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been deadlocked.
Military officials said some senior commanders of the militants had been killed in the bombing and they may disclose their identity later. Local sources said there were reports of the death or injuries to four Mehsud militant commanders of the TTP, including Sabir Mehsud, Jehadyar, Daftar Mohammad and Musa. However, Taliban sources denied these reports and independent sources didn’t confirm the deaths.
Some villagers in Mir Ali claimed that 80 people, including women and children, lost their lives in the air strikes. There were reports that the house of one Sharifullah Khan, who was a small-time trader, was hit in the Mosaki village and he was killed along with 16 members of his family, including women and children. His elder brother Saifullah, who a month ago had retired from the Frontier Corps’ Dir Scouts wing, was also killed along with his son.
Civilian deaths were also reported from the Hormuz village. In Issori, a Madrassa used by the Sheharyar Mehsud faction of the TTP was attacked but the target was missed. Villagers said the militants took away a man, apparently a hostage, from this place after covering his face. Previous reports said former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s kidnapped son Ali Haider Gilani had been kept at this Madrassa in the past.
Meanwhile, the local administration once again imposed a curfew in North Waziristan. All shops and markets as well as schools, colleges and government offices remained closed on Wednesday.
The authorities ordered the shopkeepers in the Mir Ali town, where there are more than 1,500 shops, to vacate the bazaar and close down their businesses. The shopkeepers were hurrying up to take their goods to safer places.
On the other hand, the North Waziristan-based non-TTP Taliban led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur convened an emergency meeting of their Shura to decide whether they should end the peace accord they had signed with the government in 2007. Its spokesman said the military action had changed the situation and the Shura wanted to discuss to either continue or end their peace agreement with the government.
Meanwhile, military authorities in North Waziristan said a group of militants attacked the security forces in Mir Ali and killed four security officials, including an officer.“The soldiers retaliated and a heavy gunfight ensued between the security forces and the militants in which 11 terrorists were killed,” a military official said.