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PESHAWAR: Seven personnel of Pakistan Army, including an officer, were martyred when a group of soldiers were ambushed by militants in North Waziristan. In return fire, the surviving soldiers in the group killed nine attackers.

Officials said that the exchange of fire between the soldiers and militants took place in the Soor Daag area of Datakhel tehsil near the Afghan border. They said that the soldiers came under attack from a compound when an intelligence-based operation in the area was under way.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, the soldiers launched the operation in the Gharlamai and Spera Kunar Algad areas of North Waziristan.

Retaliatory fire by surviving personnel leaves nine attackers dead

A group of militants who were reported to have infiltrated from across the border was involved in the attack. They were hiding in the compound.

The security personnel took the bodies of the militants into custody and efforts are being made for their identification.

The martyred personnel were identified as Captain Junaid, Havaldars Amir, Atif, Nasir and Abdul Razzaq and Sepoys Sammi and Anwar.

The ISPR said that the area had been cleared.

Attacks on security forces and targeted killings have witnessed a surge in the volatile North Waziristan where the army launched Zarb-i-Azb military operation against militants in June 2014 that also resulted in displacement of over one million civilians.

In another intelligence-based operation on Sept 13 four militants were killed and in an exchange of fire three army personnel were martyred.

A security official told Dawn that these militants were infiltrating from across the border. He said the recent surge in militants’ activities might have a link to a militant group led by ‘Commander’ Hafiz Gul Bahadur, presently operating from across the Afghan border. Pamphlets and leaflets attributed to Hafiz Gul Bahadur group were recently distributed in Miramshah and other areas in which some local elders and militants who have renounced militancy after surrendering to the army were warned not to establish any sort of contact with the army and local administration. Gul Bahadur had gone underground after the Zarb-i-Azb military operation.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2018