PESHAWAR: A key Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander and 35 suspected militants were killed in clashes and air strikes in Upper Orakzai Agency on Monday.
Fifteen suspected militants were killed and 42 others injured in overnight clashes between security forces and alleged militants in the Upper parts of Orakzai, including Dabori and Ali Khel.
Another 20 suspected militants were killed in Ismail Zai area, including Ghijlo, Talee, and Tor Kanaya, as helicopter gunships and fighter jets destroyed seven suspected militant hideouts.
Meanwhile, security officials confirmed the death of a key TTP commander, Ihsan Farooqi, who is said to be killed in air strikes on Sunday. Farooqi operated militant training centres in Orakzai tribal region.
However, casualty figures can not be independently verified because the area is closed to journalists.
In the four-month-long operation, security forces have claimed to clear Lower Orakzai and at least 3000 Internally Displaced Persons have returned to Sturikhel in the Lower parts of the tribal region. The operation in the area has left an estimated number of 45,000 people homeless.
In another incident, militants opened fire on SHO Doaba’s vehicle in Mamu Khwr area of Hangu district. A policeman was injured in the exchange of fire. However, the SHO, Haleem Khan, escaped unhurt in the attack. Khan told journalists that militants managed to escape to the mountains following the attack.
Separately, militants fired two rockets on Orakzai Agency headquarters in Bahermela area of Hangu district. The Bomb Disposal Unit (BDU) said that rockets landed on a helipad outside the building, but did not blow up.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 1st, 2010.