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9 killed in tribal areas, Rs 50 mn for Mehsud’s head

world Updated: Jun 28, 2009 23:57 IST

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At least eight militants and a soldier were killed in Pakistan's volatile South Waziristan region, where warplanes and artillery on Sunday pounded rebel positions, as authorities announced reward for information leading to Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud’s capture or death.

The eight militants were killed in overnight strikes by jets that also destroyed two Taliban hideouts, TV news channels reported.

Air strikes and artillery have targeted militant positions in South Waziristan ahead of a planned offensive by ground forces that has been codenamed “Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path of Salvation)”.

The latest air strikes targeted Sam, Langarkhel and other areas dominated by Mehsud tribesmen.

The authorities announced rewards for information leading to the capture, dead or alive, of 11 militant commanders, including a bounty of Rs 50 million for Baitullah.

According to an advertisement issued by the North West Frontier Province government, Maulvi Faqeer Muhammad, the Taliban deputy chief based in Bajaur tribal region, carries a reward of Rs 10.5 million.

Meanwhile, media reports quoting officials said six soldiers were killed in a rocket attack on an army convoy near Datta Khel in North Waziristan, officials said.