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Pakistani Military Kills 20 Militants


Officials in Pakistan say the military has killed 20 militants during raids on camps controlled by a Taliban commander near the Afghan border.

The military used helicopter gunships to destroy militant bases on Sunday near Ghiljo in the tribal district of Orakzai, an area controlled by top Taliban commander Hakimullah Mesud.

Residents told news agencies the attacks continued Monday.

The operation follows Saturday's suicide car bomb attack in the nearby town of Hangu that killed 25 people, mostly Afghan soldiers and police.

Hakimullah Mesud claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. missile strikes by unmanned aircraft [drones] against militants. He is an associate of militant leader Baitullah Mesud, accused of organizing the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Over the past two years, Pakistan has been struck by a wave of militant attacks in the tribal areas and also in the capital, Islamabad. The government is under intense pressure from the United States to defeat the insurgents who also stage attacks in Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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