17 militants killed, 49 suspects arrested in NW Pakistan

21:15, December 11, 2009      

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Seventeen militants were killed and as many as 49 suspects apprehended in ongoing military operations in Pakistan's northwest during the last 24 hours, military sources said Friday.

Sources said that six militants were killed and four hideouts were bombed in Orakzai tribal agency near the border with Afghanistan. Meanwhile, seven militants were killed in the adjoining Khyber tribal agency.

The Pakistan army continued the search and clearance operation in South Waziristan tribal area. During the operation 36 suspects were arrested and caches of weapons and ammunition were recovered while two soldiers were injured, the Inter Service Public Relations said in the daily press release.

In Swat and Malakand districts of North West Frontier Province, the Pakistan army exchanged fire with Taliban militants in Khauza Khel area and killed wanted militant commander Baja Ameer urf Hamza and three other militants.

Five militants voluntarily surrendered themselves to security forces while 13 suspects were arrested in the restive area. Security forces also recovered 12 kg of explosives and two improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The Pakistan army launched a ground assault in South Waziristan on Oct. 17, advancing towards the main base of Taliban militants in Pakistan. The army said that about 30,000 soldiers are in place to take on an estimated 10,000 hard-core Taliban militants in the lawless area.

The army controlled major bases of militants and are consolidating their positions while a large number of insurgents fled the tribal belt.

According to military statistics, so far more than 600 militants have been killed since the offensive started in South Waziristan.

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