More than 70 civilians were killed and scores injured in an air raid on April 10 by the Pakistani jet fighters in the tribal region along Pakistan's northern border with Afghanistan. According to eyewitness accounts, a bomb was dropped on a house in the remote village of Sara Walla in the Khyber tribal agency. The fighter jets returned as villagers tried to dig out people from the rubble two hours later.
According to Ikramullah Jan Kukikhel, a tribal elder, the death toll is likely to reach up to 80. He said between 20 and 30 others were injured when the house of Hameed Khan Kukikhel was bombed by the jets, killing women, children and elderly people. "All of those killed were civilians, 100% innocent," he told the press.
Ironically, the Kukikhel are with the government. Two sons of Hameed Khan Kukikhel (whose house was bombed) were serving in the para-military Frontier Constabulary. "We have never joined the Taliban or any other fundamentalist group. We are normal people who just want peace for the country," said Ikramullah Jan Kukikhel.
However, the Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas insisted that any of the dead were civilians, saying the army had intelligence that militants were gathering at the site of the strike. As army was adamant not to concede the civilian casualties, an embarrassed civilian administration offered compensation to 71 victims of the tragic incident.
According to a survivor of the attack an official from the Khyber administration visited him and gave him a check of Rs 20,000 ($220) to compensate for the loss of four relatives, including his brother.
Pakistan's mercenary Army is conducting massive operations against the militants in the tribal region behind a smoke screen. No journalists are permitted inside the war zone. Reports about the fighting and casualties of the so-called Taliban and army as well as civilian victims are primarily based on the information, misinformation and propaganda released by government or military spokesmen.
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