ISLAMABAD: Pakistani jets and helicopters attacked suspected militant bases in a tribal area on the Afghan border yesterday, killing at least 12 rebels, a military official said. The air assault near Ghiljo area in the tribal Orakzai district came a day after a suicide attack claimed by the Taleban killed 27 security personnel in nearby Hangu town, the official said.
“We had information about the presence of militants in the surrounding hills,” a senior military officer said on condition of anonymity. “We engaged jets and helicopters and at least four Taleban bases were destroyed in the bombing and shelling,” he said. “Our information is that 12 militants were killed and the final toll may go up.”
In another incident, a suspected US missile attack aimed at Taleban and Al-Qaeda rebels killed at least three militants, officials said. The attack was the latest in a series of strikes by pilotless US aircraft in the restive northwest region, they said.
“It was a drone attack,” local administration official Shahab Ali Shah said. The official said two missiles hit a house in Gangi Khel area on the outskirts of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan district along the Afghan border.
Another official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the attack targeted a militant hide-out, killing three suspected rebels. Five others were wounded, the official added. But a security official said seven militants had died. “Seven militants were killed in the twin strike,” he said, adding that there was no immediate report of any high-value targets. Residents said the attack flattened the compound and destroyed a vehicle parked nearby.
“It was a fortress-type house owned by local tribesman Mohammad Wali, there were about a dozen rooms,” his neighbor Roshan Khan said. One missile hit a “Shashpai,” or six-wheeler truck, which was apparently loaded with explosives, he said. “The truck exploded with a big bang and the smell of explosives filled the area,” he said.
– With input from agencies