33 more killed as Swat operation continues
* Officials put total death toll at 63 including 5 troops, 13 civilians and 45 militants
MINGORA: Fresh fighting erupted between security forces and Taliban militants in the restive Swat valley on Thursday, leaving 13 civilians and around 20 militants dead, sources said.
Residents said shells hit a house early on Thursday in the Deolai area of Swat, killing five children and their parents, including two women. Officials said it was not clear if the munitions were fired by security forces or militants. In separate incidents, five civilians were killed in shelling, they said, adding that a total of 25 people were also wounded in the fighting.
Death toll: A senior security official said that 45 militants had been killed in fighting over the past two days. The overall death toll reached 63 that included five troops, he said. Army officials arranged a visit for local reporters to the affected areas. The helicopter carrying the media team to the Uchrai Sar area came under fire from militants, however, no damage was reported.
Separately, Taliban militants set fire to two girls’ schools overnight, the officials said according to AFP. In a search operation launched in Mingora city on Thursday, security forces detained 10 suspected militants, officials said.
NWFP spokesman Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the government was requesting the federal government for more army troops, to “bring peace and protect the lives, property and honour of the people for Swat.” shahzad alam/agencies/daily times monitor