February 25, 2014 - 10:55 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Pakistan's army launched new air strikes targeting militant hideouts in the tribal region of North Waziristan on Tuesday, Feb 25, killing at least 30 people and setting off a wave of refugees, military officials and local residents said, according to Reuters.
Pakistani fighter jets have been pounding targets in the region since the government's efforts to engage Taliban insurgents in peace negotiations broke down this month.
North Waziristan residents have been fleeing the area on the Afghan border in recent days, anticipating a full-scale military offensive, leaving homes, shops and villages behind and settling in safer areas, such as Bannu, a town on the edge of the region.
"The militants had captured a stretch between South Waziristan and North Waziristan and had established training centers where they were also preparing suicide bombers," said one military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another security official said at least 30 "terrorists" had been killed in early morning air strikes.
The latest air strikes took place mainly in the remote Shawal valley and Dattakhel areas of North Waziristan, said to be sites of militant training facilities and compounds.
Reuters said it was impossible to verify how many civilians might have been killed or wounded as journalists and independent observers are not allowed to operate freely in the area.