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Six militants killed in Pakistan

world Updated: Mar 27, 2010 16:40 IST
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Backed by gunship helicopters, Pakistani security forces pounded militant hideouts in the lawless Aurakzai tribal region near the Afghanistan border, killing six suspected rebels.

The helicopters targeted militant hideouts in Sultanzai and Anjani areas of Aurakzai Agency, official sources said.

Besides killing six rebels, the air strikes destroyed two hideouts and the house of a tribesman named Malik Rafique.

Ground forces backed by gunship helicopters and artillery launched a fresh offensive in the region this week against militants who entered Aurakzai Agency while fleeing the army operation in South Waziristan.

Officials have claimed nearly 90 militants have been killed in air and ground attacks in Aurakzai Agency over the past two days.

Aurakzai Agency is considered a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, who officials believe was killed in a US missile strike early this year.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has dismissed reports of his death but has not provided any evidence to prove that Mehsud is still alive.