MIRAMSHAH/WANA, Sept 12: The army claimed killing 30 to 40 militants in fierce clashes in Razmak and Shawal areas of North and South Waziristan on Wednesday.

But a spokesman for militants in North Waziristan denied the army’s statement.

“The ISPR’s claim is totally baseless and Mujahideen are safe,” said Ahmadullah Ahmadi who identified himself as spokesman for militant commander Hafiz Gul Buhadur based in Miramshah.

Mr Ahmadi told Dawn that militants had kidnapped 11 FC men from the Bannu Frontier Region. Gul Buhadur has influence in Miramshah and has been leading a strong corps of militants in the area.

Sources said a group of militants launched an offensive against security forces in Shawal region which lies in both North and South Waziristan Agencies. The first attack was carried out in Pesh Ziarat area and security forces called in Cobra helicopters from Miramshah.

Officials said the helicopters targeted positions in Shawal area and about 40 militants were killed. Combat helicopters shuttled between Shawal and Miramshah.

The sources said the militants later moved towards Nowaz Kot in Makin area of South Waziristan and attacked personnel of the Bajaur Scouts who had set their base in a school. A heavy exchange of fire was under way till late in the evening.

Militants also attacked a paramilitary base in the Razmak area of North Waziristan with rockets and other heavy weapons. The security forces fired artillery from the fort which also houses a cadet college.

Meanwhile, another spokesman for militants warned that they would begin killing more than 200 soldiers who had surrendered in South Waziristan nearly two weeks ago.

“We will start killing them in batches of three soldiers if the military operations do not stop,” spokesman Zulfiqar Mehsud said.

“The miscreants were occupying mountaintops to launch attacks on troops. We used artillery and Cobra helicopter gunships to dislodge them,” Maj-Gen Arshad told AFP. “The ground troops have started reaching the area for mopping up operations once the firing ends,” he said, adding that the clash was going on.

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