Pakistani villagers in North Waziristan held funerals Wednesday for the dozens of people killed in military airstrikes during an offensive against pro-Taleban militants.

Residents in the tribal region asked the military to halt the attacks so their relatives killed in Tuesday's airstrikes could be buried.

Pakistani military authorities say more than 250 militants and soldiers have been killed in four days of fighting, the fiercest between government soldiers and militants since 2001. 

Thousands of people have fled the remote tribal region.  Residents say the air strikes have destroyed homes, killed dozens of civilians and injured many more.

The army says the fighting began after pro-Taleban militants ambushed a military convoy Saturday near the town of Mir Ali. 

Taleban and al-Qaida militants have taken refuge in Pakistan's tribal regions since U.S.- led forces ended Taleban rule in neighboring Afghanistan in 2001.

Attacks on Pakistani security forces have surged since the collapse in July of a peace deal between the government and pro-Taleban militants.  The deal was designed to drive out foreign al-Qaida fighters from the tribal region.

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