At least 37 militants were killed on Wednesday in a military offensive against the pro-Taliban insurgents in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region, near the troubled Afghan border, security officials said.
Government troops Wednesday bombed militant positions at Kotki and Pashat areas of Bajaur tribal district and killed dozens of militants, including some foreign fighters, Pakistani Army spokesman Major Murad Khan was quoted as saying by the NNI news agency.
Bajaur tribal area is considered a hub of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, where government forces have for three weeks been conducting an extensive operation to destroy their hideouts.
Murad said dozens of militants were killed when the gunship helicopters attacked them inside a basic health unit, where they had gathered for attacks on security forces. "Up to 30 militants were killed inside the building."
Several foreign militants were among those killed in the offensive, the spokesman said, adding that seven militants were also killed in Nawagai village.
However, Taliban spokesman Maulvi Umar denied the army claim and said no militant was killed in the fighting Wednesday.
"The security forces are making claims to create panic among the people," Umar was quoted as saying by the NNI news agency.