Islamabad/peshawar - At least 13 militants including two suicide bombers were killed in air strikes in the Khyber Agency on Sunday.

The air attacks were part of a surgical operation, Khyber-1, against the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Islam. According to security sources, 10 militant hideouts and an ammunition depot were also destroyed. Official sources in Khyber Agency said that the warplanes targeted suspected sanctuaries of the militants.

A top militant commander, identified as Munawar, was also killed in the air attack, the sources said.

Meanwhile, two people were killed in an armed battle that took place between pro-government Tawheed-ul-Islam (Zakha Khel peace lashkar) and banned LI in Narai Baba area of Tirah valley.The killed volunteer of Tawheed-ul-Islam was identified as Ibrahim while LI fighter was known as commander Shamim.

The skirmishes between the two groups have been in progress for the last three days in which many of their fighters have lost their lives. Separately, a deserted commander of LI and currently pro government commander Faqeer’s faction has claimed to have captured the Shaloober tribe area which was formerly a strong base of the banned LI.

According to AFP, the military said the militant commander who was killed was known for his training of suicide bombers.

Two suicide bombers were also among those killed, it said. The military launched a large-scale offensive in the North Waziristan tribal district in June in response to a bloody raid by insurgents on Karachi Airport, an attack which ended faltering peace talks between the govt and the Taliban.

Militants have taken sanctuary in Khyber after fleeing strongholds in North Waziristan, and troops began a military operation in Khyber in October.

More than 150,000 people have fled the district since then. The army says it has killed more than 1,100 militants and lost around 100 soldiers since the start of the June operation.

But the toll and identity of those killed is difficult to verify because journalists do not have regular access to the conflict zones.