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Pak jets pound Taliban hideouts, 58 killed

world Updated: Mar 25, 2010 22:17 IST

PTI
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At least 58 people, including militants and civilians, were killed in fierce clashes and artillery and air attacks by security forces on suspected militant positions in the troubled Aurakzai tribal region in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, sources said.

Forty-eight people, including several civilians, were killed and 22 others injured when fighter jets pounded several targets, including a seminary and a 'tableeghi markaz' or religious gathering in Mamozai area this afternoon, sources told PTI.

Earlier in the day, four militants were gunned down by security forces during clashes in Mirobak area of Aurakzai Agency.

A security personnel was injured in the fighting.

Troops also arrested militant commander Mian Gul and captured several rebel strongholds.

Six more militants were killed and five injured when jet fighters targeted their hideouts in Dabori area.

Three militant hideouts were destroyed in the air strikes.

The Mamozai area, which is surrounded by high mountains, is considered a hub of Taliban militants.

Sources said the death toll due to the air strike on the 'tableeghi markaz' might rise as a large number of people
had gathered there.

Important commanders associated with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan are believed to have been killed in
the bombardment.

Sources said an important meeting of Taliban leaders was underway in the Argunjo Islami madrassa or seminary at the
time of the air strike.

At least 21 militants were killed in operations by security forces in Aurakzai Agency on Wednesday.

Today's artillery and air attacks were launched after rebels targeted a security check post.

A large number of Taliban fighters entered Aurakzai Agency after the army launched an operation against militants in South Waziristan last year.