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Jan 27, 12:09 PM EST

Pakistan military says its airstrikes kill 76 militants


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ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Pakistani military jets struck suspected militant hideouts Tuesday near the Afghan border, killing 76 militants, the army said.

Two rounds of airstrikes targeted the suspected militants in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, which has long been a safe haven for local and foreign extremists carrying out attacks on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Some foreigners were among those killed while six militant hideouts, an ammunition dump and seven explosives-laden vehicles also were destroyed in the strikes, Pakistani army said in statement.

Journalists are barred from working in Pakistan's tribal regions, making it impossible to independently verify the military's claims. Civilians have been killed in previous strikes and the ongoing military offensive there has seen thousands flee for nearby cities. U.S. drone strikes also target suspected militants there.

The army launched its offensive in North Waziristan last June after terrorists attacked the country's largest airport in Karachi. The Pakistan army has claimed to have killed over 2,000 militants so far. It also says it lost nearly 200 soldiers in the operation.

The military's offensive went into overdrive after militants attacked an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December, killing 150 people, mostly children. Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah claimed the responsibility for the school attack, saying it was revenge for the military offensive in the tribal region.

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