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Raids, shells kill 36 in North Waziristan

22 December, 2013

MIRANSHAH: Troops on Thursday mounted helicopter and mortar attacks on militants in the tribal areas, where officials said 33 insurgents and three civilians have been killed.

The violence in North Waziristan Agency came a day after a suicide bombing at a military checkpoint killed five soldiers and wounded 34 others. Ansarul Mujahideen, a little-known militant group linked to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for Wednesday's suicide attack. A senior military official said 23 militants were killed overnight in fighting with security forces in North Waziristan.

Ten more militants most of them Uzbeks were killed in a fresh search operation in Mirali town on Thursday, the military said. Security forces launched the operation following an intelligence tip-off that terrorists were busy preparing vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the military said in a statement. Clashes erupted after the insurgents attacked a convoy of security forces which was returning after rescuing soldiers wounded in Wednesday's bombing, the military official said on condition of anonymity.

Helicopters attacked compounds in the morning while troops fired mortars at intervals throughout the day at suspected militant hideouts. A senior security official said the cordon and search operation was still going on in the town of Mirali and surrounding areas. Local resident Mohabbat Khan told AFP the security forces also demolished a few compounds in Mirali where they suspected the presence of rebels.

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