"On Monday, after the evacuation of all civilians from the region, infantry troops and personnel from the special services group launched a ground operation by commencing house-to-house searches in the main towns of Miranshah and Mir Ali."
Islamabad, June 30 - At least 412 militants and 17 soldiers have been killed so far in the military operation against terrorists hiding in the country's north-western tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, the Pakistan army said Monday.
According to the statistics released by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), a mouthpiece of the Pakistan army, as many as 376 terrorists have been killed in the restive tribal region of North Waziristan, an area believed to be the last safe haven of militants in Pakistan, Xinhua reported.
Security forces have also killed 36 militants in the tribal region of Khyber Agency, an area adjacent to the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Pakistan Army launched a comprehensive operation named Zarb-e-Azb against foreign and local militants, hiding in sanctuaries in the North Waziristan tribal region a week after the terrorist attack on the country's busiest airport in the southern port city of Karachi.
On June 8, at least 40 people including security personnel, civilians and 10 terrorists of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan were killed and over 20 others injured in the attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.
Following the airport attack, the Pakistani military launched a series of aerial strikes on militants' hideouts in North Waziristan June 10, killing 25 militants including foreign insurgents.
In the first phase of strikes, the jet fighters bombed eight foreign militant hideouts in the early hours of June 15, killing up to 150 insurgents, a majority of whom were Uzbeks, including those reportedly linked to the airport attack.
So far, 19 militants have surrendered to the security forces and 61 terrorist hideouts were destroyed in the operation, while 17 soldiers were killed in the clashes and bomb attacks by the militants.
On Monday, after the evacuation of all civilians from the region, infantry troops and personnel from the special services group launched a ground operation by commencing house-to-house searches in the main towns of Miranshah and Mir Ali.
As a result of the operation, nearly half a million people including women and children had to flee from North Waziristan to safeer places in other parts of the country, especially in neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.