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Pakistan Ups Anti-Taliban Offensive After School Massacre

Pakistan's military says it has stepped up its offensive against Islamist militants, killing 57 rebels in fresh air strikes and sending troops deep into Taliban strongholds, two days after militants massacred 148 people, including 135 students, at an army-run school.

A military statement said December 18 that fighter jets bombed 20 militant hideouts in Khyber tribal district, which borders Peshawar city, where the December 16 massacre occurred.

Ground troops also moved deeper into Tirah valley, a mountainous stretch near the Afghan border where various militant groups linked with Al-Qaeda have long established sanctuaries.

Pakistanis, meanwhile, marked the second of three days of national mourning for the victims of the school massacre.

On December 17, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to crush militants and immediately ended a six-year moratorium on executions for those convicted of terrorism.

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP