Pakistani military commandos on Tuesday killed 33 Taliban militants during an operation to free anti-terrorism police officers who were held hostage inside a prison compound for three days, officials said.

An intelligence source told dpa all the militants who overpowered prison officials, seized their weapons and demanded a safe passage to neighbouring Afghanistan were killed in the hour-long operation.

At least eight hostages were freed, the source said, adding some of them were injured.

Five soldiers and three special commandos were wounded in the operation, the source said.

At least four loud blasts were heard when commandos stormed the compound followed by an intense exchange of fire, a police official said, seeking anonymity.

The operation was launched after negotiations with the leaders of Pakistani Taliban to end the hostage situation failed to achieve a breakthrough, the intelligence source said.

The bodies of the terrorists were transported to the nearby military hospital in Bannu, a garrison town where the prison compound was located.

Bannu is close to North Waziristan, a region that long served as headquarters for militants linked to al-Qaeda and dreaded Haqqani network of Afghan Taliban.

Pakistani Taliban, who follow the same hardline interpretation of Sunni Islam as their Afghan counterparts but have a different organization, have killed around 80,000 people in decades of violence.

They were pushed into Afghanistan in a series of offensive since 2014, but have been trying to recapture their former stronghold regions since the fall of Kabul to the Afghan Taliban last year.

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