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Air strikes kill 15 militants in Datta Khel

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ISLAMABAD: (APS) FEB 23,2016- Air strikes killed 15 suspected militants and destroyed their eight hideouts in the restive northwest of Pakistan on Tuesday, the military said.

The air strikes took place around Datta Khel in North Waziristan, the military said in a statement.

The mountainous region along the Afghan border used to be a key Taliban stronghold, with insurgents controlling all the major urban centers. But in June 2014, the government launched a massive military operation in North Waziristan and vowed to step up its efforts in the wake of a Taliban attack on a school in December that killed some 150 people, mostly children.

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The airstrikes came a day after at least three militants were killed in a US drone strike launched near Kurram Agency, a tribal area in northwest Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan.

Two vehicles were also destroyed in the strike.

Monday‘s US drone strike is the second of its kind since the beginning of this year if it took place on the Pakistani side.

There is a sharp decline in the number of US drone strikes in Pakistan in 2015 and 2016 compared with the previous years.

Pakistan has been battling a homegrown insurgency for over a decade. The military claims more than three thousand militants have been killed since the launch of operation Zarb-e-Azb in the North Waziristan tribal region.

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