ISLAMABAD (Agencies) - Troops killed 33 militants but faced mortar fire and street battles as they entered militants stronghold of Sararogha during an offensive against Taliban and foreign extremists on Saturday, the military said. No information provided by the Army can be verified because communication lines are down and journalists and aid workers are barred from access to the area on the wild Afghan border. The latest casualties reported in a military statement bring to 297 the total number of insurgents reported killed since the operation was launched in the mountainous tribal terrain of South Waziristan on October 17. Seventeen militants were killed and two soldiers injured when government troops surrounded the town of Karama, a stronghold and training centre of Uzbek militants, the military said. Fierce fighting is going on between security forces and foreign terrorists present in the area, it said. In nearby Kanigurram, troops were facing stiff resistance, including mortar fire, the statement added. Fighting in streets is going on and house-to-house search is in progress. Terrorists have converted the houses into strong bunkers and are holding towers in strength and with snipers, it said. Three militants died during exchanges of fire there, and another 13 were killed when troops closed on the terrorists stronghold of Sararogha, the military said. Around 30,000 troops are taking part in the offensive against an estimated 10,000-12,000 militants in the semi-autonomous and lawless tribal belt. Relief workers say more than 200,000 people have been displaced by the fighting. The operation Rah-e-Nijat launched two weeks back has entered in a crucial phase as strongholds of the terrorists have been surrounded by the security forces in South Waziristan. The important phase of operations has commenced on all three axes, a news release of ISPR said. On Jandola-Sararogha axis the important stronghold of Sararogha has been surrounded from three sides. On Shakai-Kaniguram axis, Karama has been encircled and clearance of Kaniguram has commenced. On Razmak-Makeen axis security forces have reached the outskirts of Makeen. On Jandola-Sararogha axis the security forces moving forward have reached the outskirts of terrorists stronghold of Sararogha. The town has been surrounded from three directions. All the important features and ridges around Sararogha have been taken over by the security forces. During the process of closing forward intense fire exchange took place. Some 13 terrorists were killed while there is no loss of security forces. Clearance of the Sararogha town will commence in next 24 hours. There is substantial presence of terrorists in the town. During search at Kotkai, a cache of weapons and ammunition was recovered which includes 1200 live rounds of 12.7 mm, 12 Grenades, one 75 mm RR, one RPG-7, three 12.7 mm guns, two AK 47, one SBRL, and 25 Kgs Potassium. During search operation at Shishamwam forces recovered one 12.7 mm gun with two spare barrels and one Automatic weapon (type unknown). On Shakai - Kaniguram Axis, security forces moving from two directions surrounded the town of Karama, a stronghold and training centre of Uzbek militants. Fierce fighting is going on between security forces and foreign terrorists present in the area. Some 17 terrorists were killed while two soldiers got injured. Search and clearance operation of Kanigurm has commenced where forces are facing stiff resistance and receiving fire from different parts of the town including mortar fire. Fighting in streets is going on and house-to-house search is in progress. Terrorists have converted the houses into strong bunkers and are holding towers in strength and with snipers. During exchange of fire three terrorists were killed. During sanitization of Kund Mela an elaborate IED making factory has been discovered along with two suicide jackets and 50 Kgs of explosive. After securing Asman Manza feature 1 Km north of Kaniguram 1x 14.5 mm gun, four grenades, five Kgs explosive and one rifle with telescope has been recovered. On Razmak- Makeen Axis security forces have cleared Nawazkot and have reached the outskirts of Makeen, the base of terrorists in SWA. Makeen is the nerve centre of TTP. During consolidation and expansion at Sharkai Sar security forces recovered 1x twin barrel of 14.5 mm gun with 2000 rounds and 1x SPG-9 along with 8 rounds. During search of a compound in Nawazkot, Uzbek and Arabic literature has been found. Terrorists fired rockets at Green Ridge, resultantly two soldiers got injured. According to details of various intercepts forces are in control of most of the leading routes thus denying freedom of movement to terrorists in the area. Intercepts have revealed that terrorists are in great disarray and disorganised. The loss of important areas, confiscation of major weapons and ammunition and ration dumps have lowered their morale to a great extent. As per details of operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat and Malakand is concerned, eight terrorists voluntarily surrendered to security forces at Mankial near Bahrain, Piochar, Besh Banr, Durushkhela, Alamganj and Shalpalam. Security forces conducted search operation at Shangla, Sambat, Roria, Qambar and Gulibagh and apprehended 11 suspects. As part of relief activities, 7,203 cash cards have been distributed among the displaced families of Waziristan while 19,348 displaced families of Waziristan have been provided with food items.