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25 militants killed in Pakistani air strikes

At least 25 militants were killed as fighter jets hit their hideouts in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas, an official said today.

world Updated: May 20, 2010 20:04 IST

At least 25 militants were killed as fighter jets hit their hideouts in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas, an official said on Thursday.

The attacks struck suburbs of Dabori in Orakzai district, where government forces launched an operation in March to recapture the area from Al-Qaeda and Taliban rebels.

Air support was called in to hit four or five hideouts from where militants were launching attacks on ground forces, a security official said on condition of anonymity.

"Our jets successfully targeted the militants, killing at least 25 of them and injuring another 10," he said. "Their hideouts were also destroyed".

The death toll was not independently confirmed as the area is not accessible to media or aid workers.

Orakzai became the main safe haven for the militants after they were pushed out of South Waziristan in an offensive launched in October.

Military officials say that they have killed more than 700 militants in the ongoing operation in the district, in which 18 soldiers have also been killed.

Orakzai borders North Waziristan, a stronghold of a Taliban group known as Haqqani with strong links to Al-Qaeda. The group has been sending its fighters over the border into Afghanistan to fight Western troops there.

Pakistan has been hesitant to move against the militants in North Waziristan, despite increasing international pressure.

The United States have been leaning on Islamabad to take more decisive action against the Taliban since Faisal Shehzad, suspected of botched terrorist attack in Times Square, New York, was found to have had contact with militants in Pakistan.