PESHAWAR (AFP) - An uncertain number of civilians may have been among up to 71 killed in military bombing raids in the northwestern tribal district of Khyber, survivors and officials said Tuesday. Military and political officials initially said at least 48 militants were killed in a gunfight and airstrike in the Tirah valley, where jets targeted local militants on Saturday. But a local tribal elder and a political official on Tuesday raised the death toll to 71, describing the dead as tribesmen, but they were reluctant to classify them all as civilians. Authorities in the tribal district of Khyber have expressed grief over the incident and set aside Rs 10.5 million compensation in a rare public admission that there were civilian casualties. Seventy-one local tribesmen were killed and more than 20 others injured, said Rehan Gul Khattak, a deputy to the top political official in Khyber - one of the seven districts in Pakistans tribal belt on the Afghan border. The top official, Shafeerullah, told AFP in a message that a committee of tribal elders was now conducting inquiries to determine how many of the dead were innocent civilians and how many were militants. Kukikhel tribal elder Malik Ghaffar Kukikhel told AFP that more than 70 people were killed, and described them as ordinary tribesmen. The military, which is fighting on multiple fronts against homegrown Taliban militants in the tribal belt, denied that any civilians were killed. In a statement, it said militants were flocking to the Tirah Valley, which it described as a stronghold of local militant group Lashkar-e-Islam as well as a hub of Taliban and foreign fighters.