Security forces killed 32 people, including three women, in strikes against suspected militant hideouts in northwest Pakistan, an official said Monday.
The Sunday death toll resulted from the latest round of a bloody military offensive that has reportedly killed hundreds in recent weeks in the Bajur tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
Bajur is a suspected hide-out of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and one of the regions the US fears is a safe haven for al-Qaida and Taliban fighters involved in attacks in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani military operation in Bajur comes amid tension with the US over whether the Muslim nation is doing enough to root out insurgents from its territory and whether the US should pursue its own unilateral strikes there.
Senior government official Iqbal Khattak said most of the dead Sunday were alleged militants but at least three were women. The information is difficult to confirm independently because of the region's remote and dangerous nature.