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Death toll from air strikes in Pakistan rises

By Reza Sayah, CNN Correspondent
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Suspected militants are targeted in the air strikes
  • Officials: Strikes target vehicles rigged for suicide attacks
  • Politician: Civilians are among the dead
RELATED TOPICS
  • Pakistan
  • Khyber Agency

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The death toll from air strikes in Pakistan on Tuesday has climbed to 60, two military officials said.

The officials asked to not be named because they were not authorized to talk with media.

Pakistani military officials and a local political official gave conflicting accounts of the attacks by Pakistani jet fighters targeting suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal region. A politician said at least some of the dead were civilians.

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

Two military officials told CNN 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.

However, a local political official, Nasir Khan, told CNN 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.

CNN's Samson Desta and Nasir Habib contributed to this report.