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61 killed in Pakistan airstrikes

world Updated: Mar 26, 2010 07:50 IST
61 killed in Pakistan airstrikes

At least 61 militants were killed in the airstrikes by Pakistan military in the country's restive northwestern tribal area near Afghanistan border, officials said.

Thursday's airstrikes killed 64 militants, including dozens of Taliban commanders, who were believed have been meeting at a seminary in the Mamuzai area of Orakzai district, they said.

The seminary was a main centre for Tableeghi Jamaat, a non-violent Islamic missionary group, two intelligence officials said on condition of anonymity.

Some four dozens people died in and around the seminary, while 13 others were killed in morning strikes at the two other sites, Xinhua quoted the officials as saying.

Meanwhile, local officials said that a key Taliban commander Mian Gul was arrested in Storikheil area of Orakzai during the ongoing operation, which began Wednesday night.

Orakzai is considered a major base for Hakimullah Mehsud, the Pakistan Taliban's top commander, who is believed to have died in a US missile strike in January.

The Pakistani Taliban have been facing tough fight in their main stronghold of South Waziristan since the army launched its ground offensive there in October. Many are believed to have scattered to other parts of the tribal region along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan.