MIRANSHAH / PESHAWAR: A day after military action in North Waziristan agency killed 60 militants, terrorists targeted military camps in the region, an ISPR spokesperson said on Thursday.
An encounter around Mir Ali also took place yesterday afternoon in which 11 terrorists and four security forces personnel were also killed, the spokesperson added.
Further, the ISPR said, two IEDs were neutralised in Mir Ali and three injured soldiers from Wednesday’s encounter were taken to CMH Peshawar.
The media wing of the military went on to clarify that no air strikes were carried out in North Wazirastan on Thursday. The statement said fire raids on Miramshah camp by terrorists from Machis village were dealt with by local commanders.
Earlier reports claimed that air strikes targeting suspected militant hideouts continued in North Waziristan for a second day on Thursday.
A curfew was imposed in the agency as military aircraft targeted the hideouts of suspected militants in Miramshah, Reuters reported.
The offensive targeted the Matchis Camp, an area set up to house Afghan refugees but now a hub for local and foreign militants, Siraj Ahmed, the highest government official in the region, told Reuters by telephone.
Residents said helicopter gunships flattened houses and compounds in Matchis Camp while ground forces surrounded the area.
Pakistani-made surveillance drones also hovered over the area all morning, the first time the country has launched unmanned aircraft.
“We announced yesterday that people should leave the area,” Ahmed said. “This morning, tanks moved in and helicopter ships began demolishing houses in the Machis camp area.”
The Pakistan government signed an unofficial non-aggression pact with pro-government militants in the area in 2007 and there has been no ground offensive in the area since.
“The offensive could be the army’s toughest test in years,” a senior military official said.
On May 21, warplanes had bombed suspected hideouts of militants in North Waziristan, killing and wounding dozens of militants.
In pre-dawn strikes, fighter jets and helicopter gunships had raided targets in Miramshah, Mir Ali, Datta Khel, Ghulam Khan and Spen Wam tehsils of North Waziristan, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). At least 60 hardcore militants, including some key commanders and foreigners, were killed and around 30 wounded, it had claimed.
The identity of most of the dead could not be verified independently, but two of the dead commanders were identified as Mosa Khan Mehsud and Sabir Mehsud.
In the afternoon yesterday, five security personnel were killed and seven injured in a clash with militants in the Mir Ali Bazaar area. According to an official, the clash had taken place during a search operation by security forces. He had stated that one army major was among the fatalities. In a retaliatory action by security forces, at least 13 militants were killed, he had added.