45 killed as jets bomb LI hideouts in Tirah
* Officials claim airstrikes targeted LI meeting
* 54 bodies recovered during search operation in Lower Orakzai
PESHAWAR: At least 45 militants were killed on Saturday in airstrikes in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency, officials claimed on Saturday.
The airstrikes targeted a meeting of Lashkar-e-Islam (LI), they said. “At least 45 militants of the LI were killed and two hideouts were also destroyed,” Khyber administration chief Shafeerullah Wazir said. “The death toll may rise as dozens of others were also injured in the airstrikes,” he added.
A military official and another tribal administration official confirmed the incident and the death toll. “The airstrikes were launched on a tip-off that a meeting of the LI was going on in Tirah,” the military official told AFP.
LI has ties with the Taliban and has stirred up trouble in Khyber. The group is also accused of attacking NATO supply vehicles travelling through the area into neighbouring Afghanistan.
Khyber is on the main NATO land supply route through Pakistan into Afghanistan, where more than 121,000 foreign forces are battling to reverse an escalating Taliban insurgency, now into its ninth year. The country has launched several operations in the past two years in Khyber to flush out terrorists from the area.
Recovered: Separately, 54 bodies were recovered during a search operation in Berot area of Lower Orakzai. The number of killed in the Berot clash has reached 69, APP reported. agencies