Airstrikes and ground clashes between the Pakistan Army and militants in North Waziristan early Sunday left three soldiers and 34 militants dead, the military said.
The attacks happened in Datta Khel, according to a military statement. “During a search operation seven terrorists were killed in Datta Khel. Three soldiers including an officer also embraced martyrdom,” it said. Four soldiers were wounded in an exchange of fire, it added.
A security official also confirmed the incident but told AFP that the number wounded in the attack was greater—estimating at least 11 soldiers were injured.
Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, claimed responsibility for the attack. Bahadur, a prominent local warlord once seen as “pro-Pakistani,” is reportedly unhappy with the military offensive in North Waziristan. “We carried out this attack because the Army has established new checkposts here,” Ahmadi told AFP in a telephone call.
A separate military statement said Pakistani jets bombed insurgent hideouts in Datta Khel on Sunday, killing 27 militants. “In precise aerial strikes, 27 terrorists including some important commanders and foreigners were killed in Datta Khel,” it said.
Security officials have described the village as a stronghold of insurgent groups. It is 40 kilometers west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan.
The Army says it has killed more than 1,100 militants and lost more than 100 soldiers since the start of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. An AFP tally based on regular updates from the military puts the militant death toll at nearly 1,500, with 124 soldiers killed.