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Pakistani Warplanes, Troops Target Militant Hideouts in Northwest


Pakistani military officials say Pakistani fighter jets and troops have killed at least nine militants, as they target insurgent hideouts
throughout the country's northwest.

Authorities say airstrikes destroyed a stronghold run by Taliban commander Hakim Ullah in the Orakzai tribal agency Saturday, but it is not clear if Ullah was present at the time. At least six militants were killed.

Ullah is a top deputy to Pakistani Taliban chief, Baitullah Mehsud, who is blamed for scores of attacks against government and civilian targets. Mehsud is also believed to be a key ally for al-Qaida fighters in Pakistan.

The military said Saturday troops also killed at least three militants during a search operation in Swat Valley. One soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in the Bannu area.

The Pakistani government's offensive against Taliban insurgents in the northwest has displaced more than two million people.

Humanitarian workers have been providing aid to displaced people.

Pakistani officials said Friday at least 10,000 refugees have returned to their homes in Swat Valley in recent days.

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

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