Pakistani troops backed by helicopter gunships pounded militant
hideouts in the country's northwest on Saturday, killing at least 50
An army spokesman (Major Murad Khan) said at least 10 soldiers also were killed and seven others wounded in the offensive that took place in troubled Swat Valley.
Military officials launched the operation shortly after a suicide
bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a police station in
Swat Valley earlier in the day. At least six policemen were killed and
several others were wounded.
Another bomb attack in nearby Bari Kot district killed at least two civilians and wounded at least three others.
Taliban spokesman Muslim Khansaid said the group claimed responsibility
for the bombings, and vowed to continue the attacks if the government
does not stop military operations against militants in the tribal
The Taliban also claimed responsibility for Thursday's double suicide
attacks that killed at least 64 people at the country's main arms
complex near Islamabad. Police said they arrested a third suspect on
Security forces in Pakistan have been fighting Taliban and
al-Qaida-linked militants in Bajaur and other tribal regions along the
Afghan border for weeks. More than 500 militants and 22 soldiers have
been killed in the offensive, with thousands more people displaced by
Separately, government officials say at least five civilians were
killed Saturday when a mortar shell hit a home in Bajaur's main town of
Khar. Six others were wounded.