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20 terrorists killed in Tirah Valley air strikes

24 February, 2014

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PESHAWAR: Pakistani fighter jets pounded suspected militant hideouts in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency bordering Afghanistan as officials claimed to have killed scores of terrorists in the early morning strikes, officials said on Sunday.

Security officials said over 20 insurgents were killed and scores injured when military jets pounded their hideouts this morning. The officials said a bomb and explosive production factory was destroyed in bombarded adding that huge cache of arms was also destroyed in the raid.

On Saturday, nine militants were killed and several others injured in shelling by army gunship helicopters on militants' hideouts in Tora Wari and Dar Samand areas of Hangu district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The same day, Taliban's chief negotiator and chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) Maulana Sami ul Haq appealed to the government and banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to announce a ceasefire.

The militants suspected hideouts were also pounded in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency on Wednesday during which dozens of militants, most of them foreign fighters, were killed.

The air strikes set off speculations that the government has finally launched army operation in North Waziristan and other restive tribal area, but security officials said the attacks were 'punitive strikes'.

The Pakistani Taliban call for enforcement of shariah in the country as a condition of peace and ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami leader and member of Taliban negotiating team Prof. Ibrahim, called for ceasefire between government and Taliban, and warned that military actions can plunge the country into chaos.

In an interview to a private TV channel on Sunday, Prof. Ibrahim said previous military operations proved unsuccessful and any further action in tribal areas would leave thousands of homeless "and ultimately the flames of terrorism will engulf the entire country".

He said the Taliban-proposed committee is not in contact with the militants ever since the deadlock hit govt-Taliban talks following Mohmand Taliban's claim of killing 23 FC soldiers last week.

He said both the sides should agree on negotiations if only Quran and Sunnah.

Prof. Ibrahim said the Govt and Taliban committee can find the way out if the Irfan Siddiqui-led government team contacted. "They are not contacting us, perhaps they are powerless," he said.

Earlier on Sunday, JI chief, Syed Munawar Hassan, called for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seeking Afghan Taliban's help in the negotiation process to end the deadlock.

End.

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