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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Up to 40 militants killed in major Pakistan offensive: army

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 28, IRNA - Up to 40 militants have been killed in a major operation in Pakistan’s northwest, in-charge of the military operation said Monday.

The security forces launched a major offensive against Taliban militants in Lower Dir area on Sunday a day after an army convoy came under attack in the region, injuring several soldiers.

Two soldiers were killed and at least four injured.

The forces on Monday used gunship helicopters and heavy artillery to shell hideouts of the militants, officials and locals said.

A large number of people fled the fighting to safe places, witnesses said.

Brigadier Amal Zada Khan Khattak, who lead the operation in Lower Dir, said that 30 to 40 militants have been killed over the past 24 hours.

He said a militant commander Qari Shahid was among the militants killed in the offensive.

“We have taken complete control of the area,” Khattak said.

The commander said that a ‘search and cordon’ operation is underway in the area to trace the militants. He said that the operation was launched on the demand of the locals and the provincial government.

“The people are very happy over the operation,” Khattak said.

The military offensive was launched a day after a toy bomb killed 12 children in Lower Dir area.

Interior Ministry Chief Rehman Malik has blamed Taliban for the toy bomb blast and said they targeted innocent children. He said that the activities of Taliban have forced the government to take action against them.

Locals said that the army is using gunships and heavy artillery to shell hideouts of the militants.

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