PESHAWAR - At least 15 terrorists were killed and a naib subedar embraced Shahadat in exchange of fire and strikes by army gunship helicopters on militant hideouts in Boya and Ghorshtai Nulla areas of North Waziristan as part of the ongoing Zarb-e-Azb operation.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), a media wing of Pakisan Army, during the operation, exchange of fire between militants and security forces took place in the Boya area. As a result, three terrorists were killed while Naib Subedar Muzammil embraced martyrdom. Similarly, at least 12 more terrorists were killed in precise strikes by the army aviation gunship helicopters on militants’ positions in Ghorshtai Nullah of Ghulam Khan tehsil.

During the operation, three terrorist hideouts and four explosive-laden vehicles were also destroyed in the airstrikes by gunships, the ISPR said. Since June 15, the day of launching a full-scale military operation against both local and foreign militants in North Waziristan Agency, over 1,000 local and foreign militants have been killed more than 80 soldiers have embraced martyrdom. Dozens of explosive-laden vehicles and hundreds of militant hideouts have also been destroyed in the operation, the ISPR added.

The military has said it has cleared almost all major towns and villages of militants and about 80 percent of North Waziristan is now under its control. The military operation was launched against militants after Uzbek militants with the support of TTP attacked Karachi airport, killing 26 people and 10 militants.

Due to the operation, over one million tribesmen from North Waziristan Agency have been displaced and are now living either with relatives or at relief camps in downtowns of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. AFP adds: The Pakistani Taliban confirmed the military had killed one of its commanders, but did not specify the time. “Commander Muhammad Hassan embraced martyrdom while fighting the Pakistani soldiers,” Shahid Ullah Shahid, spokesman for (TTP), said.  “Hassan was also fighting NATO troops in Afghanistan and was recently released from Kabul prisons where he spent a couple of months,” Shahid said.

He added Pakistani Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah led funeral prayers for the slain commander. Residents have said many civilians have died in air strikes, but there is no way to independently verify the number and identity of those killed for there is no access of journalists to the conflict zone.

North Waziristan has become a major base for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistani Taliban), which rose up against the state in 2007. The United States had long called for action in the area because the militant groups have been targeting NATO forces in Afghanistan.