Nigeria says kills 74 Islamists in ground, air assault

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian troops killed 74 members of Boko Haram in an air and ground assault, the military said on Friday, a further sign of stepped up operations against the Islamist sect.

The offensive on Thursday targeted Boko Haram camps in the remote villages of Galangi and Lawanti in northeast Borno state where the militants have their strongest presence.

"The operation, which involved ground and aerial assault supported by the Nigerian Air Force led to the destruction of the identified terrorist camps, killing 74 terrorists while others fled with serious injuries," Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Dole said in a statement.

(Reporting by Lanre Ola; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Janet Lawrence)