National News

Airstrikes in NW Pakistan kill about 100 militants

By Rebecca Santana, The Associated Press

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani military jets pounded militant hideouts in the northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan early Sunday morning, officials said, killing as many as 100 militants in the second strike on the region since a deadly attack on the Karachi airport a week ago.

Pakistani Air Force jets targeted eight militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal area, two intelligence officials said.

Many of the dead were believed to be Uzbeks and other foreign fighters, they said.

One of those killed was Abu Abdul Rehman al-Maani, who is believed to have helped orchestrate the airport siege carried out last Sunday, said two other officials. Uzbek fighters and the Pakistani Taliban both claimed responsibility for the airport attack, and the Pakistani Taliban said the two had worked together to carry it out, marking a disturbing increase of militant groups working together.

All the officials did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The information could not be independently verified. The tribal areas are remote, dangerous and difficult for journalists to access.

The airstrikes are the second time this week the military has hit the tribal regions in what appears to be a strong response to last Sunday's five-hour siege at the country's busiest airport that left 36 people dead, including 10 assailants, and deeply shook the nation.

On Tuesday, Pakistani military airstrikes targeted the Tirah Valley in the country's northwest. The military said it killed 25 suspected militants in strikes on nine hideouts, but the information could not be independently verified. The area is part of a lawless terrain along the Afghan border that is home to a mix of local militants and al-Qaida-linked foreign fighters.

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