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'Pak jets destroy rebel den, kill commander'

world Updated: Oct 19, 2008 12:54 IST

AFP
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Pakistani fighter jets bombed a militant hide-out in restive northwestern Swat valley on Sunday, killing a rebel commander and destroying an ammunition dump, officials said.

The airstrike in the Matta district of Swat killed a senior fighter closely associated with pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah, a security official said.

"According to reports received by us, commander Alamgir has been killed in the airstrike and several other casualties are likely because ammunition at their hide-out exploded," the official told AFP.

"It was a militant den. We cannot confirm casualties immediately."

The official said that intelligence reports had indicated a large militant gathering in the area, a stronghold of extremists loyal to Fazlullah, who has declared a jihad or holy war against the government.

The mountainous Swat valley was until last year a popular tourist destination where many Pakistani city dwellers went for their annual holidays and it featured Pakistan's only ski resort.

But the region has been turned into a battleground since Fazlullah launched a violent campaign to enforce Islamic Sharia law.

Security officials said that airstrikes on Friday killed 60 pro-Taliban fighters and destroyed a training camp also in the Swat valley.