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Pakistani airstrikes said to have killed civilians

By Reza Sayah, CNN Correspondent
  • Military officials say at least 30 members of a militant group were killed
  • Local politician says at least nine of the dead were civilians, three of them children
  • The region has been the scene of numerous attacks against trucks carrying supplies
  • Pakistan
  • NATO

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani military officials and a local political official gave conflicting accounts Tuesday of attacks by Pakistani jet fighters targeting suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal region, with a politician saying that at least some of the dead were civilians.

Two military officials said that at least 30 suspected members of the militant group Lashkar-i-Islam were killed in the aerial attacks. The attacks targeted militant hideouts, illegal radio stations, training centers and several vehicles rigged for suicide attacks, the officials said.

The attacks took place in three villages in the Tirah Valley region of Khyber, one of seven districts in Pakistan's tribal region.

However, a local political official, Nasir Khan, said that nine of the dead were civilians, three of them children. He also said there was no evidence that the remaining fatalities were militants.

The Tirah Valley area is a stronghold of Lashkar-i-Islam, an anti-government militant group that is also in turf wars with other Islamist militant groups.

The region has also been the scene of numerous militant attacks against trucks transporting U.S. and NATO supplies. The main supply route for international forces in Afghanistan runs through Khyber.

The military officials asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the news media on the record.