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33 militants killed in NWA clashes, shelling

20 December, 2013

MIRANSHAH: Military authorities on Thursday said 33 militants were killed in two days of clashes between the security forces and militants in the militancy-plagued North Waziristan Agency.

They said 23 militants were killed earlier on Wednesday night during a clash after the militants attacked a roadside military checkpoint in the Khajori area of Mir Ali subdivision.According to military officials, the militants tried to ambush the security forces travelling for rescue of the victims of the suicide attack.

"It led to heavy fighting between the security forces and militants near Khajori on Wednesday night. Twenty-three militants were killed and their plan was foiled," said a senior military official in Peshawar.

He said two persons, including a soldier identified as Sepoy Tahir Ali of Chak Malik Wala village in Sargodha district, and a contractor of the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), were killed in the suicide attack and eight other soldiers were injured. The injured soldiers had been shifted to the Combined Military Hospital in Peshawar, where four of them were stated to be in critical condition.

Wishing not to be named, the military official said fighting started again on Thursday when security forces launched a search operation in the area.

He said 10 more militants were killed in the clash while three soldiers suffered injuries.According to military officials, most of those killed in clashes with security forces were foreign fighters, majority of them Central Asians.Local sources in Mir Ali said five soldiers were killed and 42 others suffered injuries in the suicide attack, but military officials denied such reports.

Local residents in Mir Ali, however, had a completely different story about the clashes and casualties.The tribesmen alleged that security forces, after a suicide attack on the checkpoint, started artillery and mortar shelling on residential areas inMir Ali. They alleged that over 30 people, mostly women, children and elderly people, had been killed and dozens of others injured in overnight shelling.

The tribesmen complained that all of the people were hit inside their homes. They claimed that most of the people were killed and injured in the Mosaki village. They complained that some of the seriously injured people died at home without receiving any medical assistance. According to the tribesmen, there has been a curfew in the tribal region for the past three days and that's why they could not shift the injured people to hospital. Some people, they said, had managed to take the injured to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital in Mir Ali and other private clinics through unfrequented routes.

Military officials in Miranshah and Peshawar did not agree with these reports.Local residents in Miranshah said the entire tribal region had been under curfew for the past three days that multiplied hardships of the tribesmen.They said all markets and shops as well as schools and colleges had been closed and people are restricted to their doorsteps.

End.

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