Pakistani security forces launch operation in tribal region

By Amena Khokhar, KUNA

Islamabad : Security forces Friday launched a large-scale house-to-house search operation in a Pakistani tribal district and killed more than 10 militants, officials said.

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About one hundred military troops along with local police and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel were taking part in the operation in Tank district in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), the security officials told KUNA.

They said so far about seven militants have been rounded up including a foreigner, believed to be of Afghan origin.

Meanwhile, in the Mahsud area, stronghold of Taliban militant commander Baitullah Mahsud, of South Waziristan tribal agency, military gunship helicopters opened fire on two suspected cars on Thursday night.

Officials said that more than 10 militants were killed in the strike that took place near a contested fort that militants have claimed of captured without troops resistance.

A military statement said that gunship helicopters engaged two cars in the vicinity of Siplatoi Fort. “Reportedly, eight miscreants were killed,” it said.

Local newspapers citing Tehrik-i-Taliban spokesman Maulvi Umar said that over three dozen paramilitary soldiers had abandoned Siplatoi fort before it was attacked by militants.

He said about 60 paramilitary soldiers had surrendered without putting up resistance, adding that the militants had taken away weapons and hoisted a white flag at the compound.

Siplatoi Fort has not been abandoned and Security Forces are holding the fort, said the military statement. However, it added, miscreants fired some rockets and small arms which were responded appropriately.