Military helicopter gunships carried out strikes on Sunday in Khyber region in northwest Pakistan, targeting militants involved in the attack on the polio team and, killed five suspected terrorists.
Security sources said helicopter gunships struck the headquarters of Mullah Tamanche where the alleged militants were killed. The Ayubi Markaz of Mullah Tamanche in Bara was destroyed in the air strikes whereas five suspected militants were killed, sources said.
Helicopter gunships also targeted militant hideouts in Kalanga and surrounding areas and a number of them were destroyed.
Mullah Tamanche was allegedly involved in the attack on polio workers in Jamrud yesterday that left 12 security personnel and one child dead. The fresh attack came hours after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan announced a ceasefire last evening.
Meanwhile, Maj Gen Asim Bajwa, who heads the military's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations, told media that security forces had already cornered terrorist elements in North Waziristan and were now ready to mop them up.
Talking to the US channel NBC News, he said the Army had already committed over 150,000 troops to fighting the insurgency in tribal areas, compared to less than 100,000 on the Indian border. This "reflects our resolve about how seriously we are taking this new, internal threat," he said. "Over the years, we have cornered the terror elements in North Waziristan. Now, all we have to do is mop them up."
An unnamed officer of 7th Infantry Division told NBC News that the Taliban had an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 hardened fighters in North Waziristan.
Last week, senior Pakistani defence officials held a briefing in Washington for the US media and after the briefing, several US media outlets reported that a military offensive in the tribal areas was imminent. Reports pointed out that Pakistan had already softened the targets by launching a series of air strikes at Taliban hideouts, particularly in North Waziristan.
The CIA had conducted hundreds of drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas, especially North Waziristan, since 2004. But they were suspended by the US almost two months ago after peace talks commenced between Pakistan and the Taliban.
First Published On : Mar 2, 2014 13:11 IST