Fighters killed in Pakistan clashes

Military's claim of success follows a surge in attacks in northwest tribal region.

    Islamabad's Lal Masjid was the scene of a protracted standoff in July with Muslim conservatives [AFP]

    The latest clashes in the region, known for its hospitality towards al Qaeda-linked fighters, occurred a day after seven people were killed in attacks by suspected Muslim fighters, and two days after a mosque and shrine were occupied by Muslim activists.
     
    More than 200 security force personnel and civilians have died in anti-government violence since the army attack on the Lal Masjid complex in Islamabad, the national capital, on July 10.
     
    Soldiers wounded
     
    In other incidents on Tuesday, a roadside bomb blast struck a paramilitary vehicle in district of Tank, near the South Waziristan tribal region, wounding six soldiers, two of them seriously.
     
    Separately, suspected Muslim fighters kidnapped four paramilitary soldiers near Bannu, a district seen as the gateway to North Waziristan, Dar Ali Khattak, the police chief, said.
     
    Khattak said the security forces were travelling in a vehicle towards a check-post in a tribal area when intercepted by the fighters.
     
    Previous attacks
     
    In Monday's violence, three paramilitary soldiers and four civilians died were killed in the North Waziristan tribal region.

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    The soldiers were killed "when militants attacked a check-post near Miranshah", Major-General Waheed Arshad said, referring to the main town of North Waziristan.
     
    The four civilians died when the assailants fired on a military convoy at a time when normal traffic was also plying the road, Arshad said.
     
    Fighters also wounded one paramilitary soldier on Monday in an attack in Miranshah, using an improvised explosive device.
     
    Arshad said seven suspects had been arrested.
     
    On Sunday, dozens of heavily armed masked men seized a shrine and mosque in Mohmand tribal region and named the mosque after the Lal Masjid.
     
    The government has called a jirga or traditional council of tribal elders to persuade the men to vacate the compound.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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