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14 militants, 4 soldiers killed in clash in northwest Pak

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Fourteen militants and four soldiers were killed during an operation against rebels in the lawless Khyber tribal region of northwest Pakistan today, officials said.

A clash erupted between militants and security forces conducting the operation in Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency, part of a strategic route to Afghanistan.

Troops recently stepped up their offensive in the region after the Taliban occupied areas controlled by the Ansar-ul-Islam, a pro-government militia.

Five soldiers were injured and four militant hideouts destroyed in the fighting, security officials told the media.

The death toll could not be independently confirmed as journalists are barred from reporting from the tribal belt.

Troops have focussed on Khyber Agency in recent weeks as militants have been using the region to carry out attacks in Peshawar and other parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province ahead of the May 11 general election.

Over 50 militants have died in clashes between the Taliban and the Ansar-ul-Islam.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the fighting in Tirah Valley and nearby areas.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan fighters entered Khyber Agency after security forces launched operations against them in the nearby Orakzai and Kurram tribal regions.

In a separate development, one person was killed and five others, including children, were injured when rockets fired from the tribal belt hit Hayatabad area on the outskirts of Peshawar.

Police officials said four rockets were fired at the city from the tribal areas. One rocket failed to explode, they said.

First Published: Fri, April 05 2013. 22:00 IST