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Pakistan Army Claims 55 Militants Killed In Tribal Northwest

File photo of a house destroyed during a military operation against Taliban militants in North Waziristan.

The Pakistan military says its forces have killed 55 Islamist militants as part of a offensive following a deadly school massacre.

Officials said 16 militants were killed in clashes late December 26 with Army troops in the Orakzai tribal district near the border with Afghanistan.

An additional 39 militants, including two rebel commanders, were killed in overnight air strikes in the North Waziristan district.

The military said the strikes also destroyed an underground ammunition dump.

Authorities have stepped up antiextremist measures following a December 16 school attack by the Pakistani Taliban that left 142 children dead.

Pakistani authorities have also responded to the attack by lifting a moratorium on the death penalty for some 500 prisoners convicted of terror-related crimes.

The UN and rights groups have called on Pakistan to restore the moratorium.

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP