ISLAMABAD, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan fighter jets early on Sunday struck the hideouts of the foreign militant groups including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement or ETIM in North Waziristan tribal region and killed 50 of them, the military said.
The military had earlier said over 50 "terrorists, mostly Uzbek" were killed in air strikes on their hideouts in North Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan. "There are reports of some ETIM terrorists also killed in the strikes," Pakistan military said in a new text message.
The ETIM is believed to have regrouped its fighters in the lawless Waziristan tribal region with the help of the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups in the volatile region.
The ETIM has been accused of carrying out terrorist attacks in China.
The military sources also confirmed Abu Abdul Rehman al-Maani, who last Sunday organized Karachi airport attack, was also killed in Sunday's airstrikes. About 30 security personnel and members of Pakistan Aviation were killed in the attack.
The Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic Movement Uzbekistan (IMU) had claimed responsibility for the airport attack. The IMU had released photographs of the attackers.
Giving details of the pre-dawn airstrike a military statement said the strikes were carried out in Degan and Datta Khel areas of North Waziristan in the wee hours of Sunday.
The targeted strikes were carried out after confirmed reports of presence of foreign and local terrorists in the hideouts, who were linked to planning of Karachi airport attack.
An ammunition dump was also destroyed, the statement from the army's Inter-Services Public Relations said.
After a warning from a local Taliban faction, thousands have fled North Waziristan fearing a major showdown between Taliban group and the security forces.
Officials from the tribal regions have confirmed over 30,000 people have left their homes while tribal sources in the region say around 50,000 have left the area and hundreds among them have migrated to Afghanistan's eastern Khost province.
Pakistan has been under mounting pressure to take a decisive action against all militant groups in North Waziristan, who are also blamed for attacks on the other side of the border into Afghanistan.
William J. Burns, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, who visited Pakistan last month, urged Pakistani leaders to dismantle what he called "safe heavens" in the tribal regions and stop attacks into neighbor countries from Pakistani soil.
"We support the Prime Minister's efforts to reestablish authority over all Pakistani territory in whatever way Pakistan deems appropriate, and especially urge him to sustain pressure on militant groups, deny them a safe-haven, and prevent cross-border attacks," William Burns said in a statement.
Most of the militants, including foreigners, had sneaked into Pakistan's tribal regions after the US-led NATO troops had started military operations in Afghanistan in late 2001.
Pakistani Taliban groups are believed to have sheltered al- Qaeda remnants and other foreign militants groups in North Waziristan, their last stronghold.