|Photograph released by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on July 19, 2014 shows Corps Commander Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani (R) taking a look at weapons recovered from militants in Mirali in northwest Pakistan's North Waziristan agency. Pakistan army said Saturday that the security forces had started a clean-up operation in Mirali, the stronghold of militants in North Waziristan during the ongoing major operation against armed groups in the tribal region. (Xinhua/ISPR)
ISLAMABAD, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan army said Saturday that the security forces had started a clean-up operation in Mirali, the stronghold of militants in North Waziristan during the ongoing major operation against armed groups in the tribal region.
The military started the long-awaited offensive in the region on June 15 after peace talks with the Taliban collapsed because of their continued attacks.
The army said that over 400 local and foreign militants had been killed so far and dozens of their hideouts destroyed. Nearly 20 security men also lost lives in bomb attacks and gun-battle with the militants.
The operation has uprooted nearly 1 million people from North Waziristan, officials said.
"Terrorists are being eliminated and dislodged from their bases in North Waziristan as the operation progresses as per plan," the military said in its update late Saturday.
An army statement said that after Miranshah, center of North Waziristan, two important villages of Boya and Degan, which were known to be large concentration centers of local and foreign terrorists, have been cleared.
At Mirali, house to house search in three key area -- Mussaki, Hurmez and Mirali Bazaar -- is being carried out by integrated group of forces.
"Terrorists holed up inside MirAli and surrounding areas have been firing Rockets, mortars, heavy machine guns and Sniper rifles, " the army statement said.
During exchange of fire, four terrorists were killed in Mirali last night and 12 IEDs were neutralized last night alone, while an IED making factory, huge cache of arms and ammunition and foreign currency were also recovered.
Meanwhile strangulation and targeting of terrorists and their hideouts in other areas in North Waziristan Agency is continuing, the army said.
Corps Commander, Lt. Gen. Khalid Rabbani, who is in-charge of the operation, visited Mirali, Boya and Degan areas and met with the troops busy in the Operation codenamed "Zarb e Azb".