Landi Kotal: 26 militants dead in 3 Khyber drone strikes
LANDI KOTAL, Dec 18: At least 26 suspected militants were killed in three drone attacks in different localities of Tirah valley, in Khyber Agency, on Friday, sources said.
Confirming the attacks, local administration officials said that in the first attack, taking place in Nangrosa village of Sipah area early on Friday morning, at least five militants belonging to the banned Lashkar-i-Islam were killed.
The deceased included Meera Jan alias Fauji, a local LI commander. Seven of his associates were injured.
The second and third attacks were carried out in Khushal Markaz (base) of the LI in Sandana area. Local sources said that missiles fired by the pilot-less planes also hit a private jail of the LI.
Thirteen militants and two imprisoned men were killed while a number of prisoners managed to escape after the attacks.
The sources said that LI chief Mangal Bagh had a narrow escape in the attack on Khushal base. Later, in a message on his illegal FM radio, he reportedly advised his followers to avoid assembling at one place to escape drone attacks.
The dead included LI commanders Shafi Jan, Murad Khan, Nazar Khan, Ayub, Khushal, Meera Jan alias Fauji, Hassan Khan, Hamdullah and Mashrai.
It was learnt that the injured were taken to Afghanistan while some of them were provided treatment in local private clinics. At least 20 militants were injured in the attacks.
The sources said that drones continued to fly over different parts of Tirah valley after the strikes. They said that more explosions were heard later in the night in various localities, but no loss of life had been reported so far.
In Nala area of Bara tehsil, security forces claimed to have killed three suspected militants during an armed encounter.
It was learnt that one civilian Farooq was killed and 10 other local residents, including four children, received injuries when mortar shells fell on their houses while security forces pounded militant positions with heavy artillery in the same locality.
Three security personnel also received injuries during an armed clash with militants, it is learnt.
In Landi Kotal, security forces arrested at least 30 people during an operation conducted at least in 400 houses situated near Landi Kotal railway station and Sadokhel area.
During the operation, Landi Kotal bazaar and the road to Torkhum was closed for security purposes.