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Pakistani military carries out airstrikes targeting militants in North Waziristan

By Sophia Saifi, Saleem Mehsud and Zahir Shah Sherazi, CNN
updated 1:33 PM EDT, Wed May 21, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pakistani military claims it killed 60 militants in North Waziristan
  • A Taliban commander calls the casualties local tribesmen

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The Pakistani military carried out airstrikes early Wednesday in the country's northwest, targeting alleged militant hideouts in the volatile region.

The army claimed it killed 60 militants, including some key commanders, and injured 30 others in North Waziristan, a loosely governed tribal area that borders Afghanistan.

A local Taliban commander, Umar Khurrassani, challenged that report, and said 39 tribesmen, including women and children, were killed. If those tribesmen were affiliated with the Taliban commander, the Pakistani army would consider some of them militants.

One area resident told CNN that up to 20 civilians had been killed in the airstrikes.

Malik Gul Saleh Jan said that it's difficult to assess the exact figure of the dead and injured because it is hard to reach some residents by phone. Many left their homes due to fear of shelling and bombing, he said.

Earlier this year, the military carried out a series of strikes in the region, considered to be a stronghold for extremist groups.

Read: Stream of al Qaeda threats has U.S. intelligence concerned

Read: FBI agent arrested in Pakistan, sought to board flight while carrying ammunition

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