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Pakistan Says 80 Suspected Militants Killed In Army Offensive

Officials say Pakistani troops have killed 80 suspected militants in a week of air strikes and ground offensive in the restive northwest near the Afghan border.

Military officials said on March 22 at least seven soldiers were also killed in the clashes in the Tirah Valley area of Khyber tribal district.

The head of the army's media wing, Asim Bajwa, said on his Twitter account: "In Khyber, terrorists being dislodged from bases, fleeing to border. So far 80 terrorists killed, approximately 100 injured in this phase."

The figures cannot be independently confirmed.

The Pakistani Taliban and an allied group, Lashkar-e-Islam, have a strong presence in the area.

A Taliban spokesman said there had been heavy fighting in Khyber for three days.

Pakistan has stepped up its operations targeting militants after the Taliban attacked a school in the area, killing more than 150 people -- mostly children -- in December.

Based on reporting by dpa, Reuters, and AP