At least 80 militants, including the Uzbek mastermind of the Karachi airport attack, were killed today in early morning raids by air force bombers in Pakistan's troubled northwestern tribal region. The jets bombed hideouts of terrorists in Degan and Dattakhel areas of North Waziristan at about 1:30 AM.
The army said in statement that there were confirmed reports of presence of foreign and local terrorists in these hideouts who were involved in planning of the Karachi airport attack last week.
"Around 80 terrorists, mostly Uzbek foreigners were killed in the strikes. An ammunition dump has also been destroyed," the army said. A security official said that the Uzbek mastermind of the Karachi attack was also killed in the strikes.
Some media reports said the number of militants killed could be over 100, although this could not be verified as the areas are off-limits for journalists. The strikes were the first military response to last Sunday's brazen assault at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport which killed 37 people including the 10 attackers. Pressure has been mounting on Pakistan to react after the airport attack. At least 25 militants were killed on Tuesday when fighter jets pounded targets in the tribal region.
The US also carried out two drone strikes in North Waziristan the same day in which 16 militants perished, including 10 from the dreaded Haqqani network. This was the first time the controversial CIA drone strikes were launched this year.