MIRAMSHAH, Dec 12: Fifteen soldiers were killed and 38 others injured in an attack and in roadside explosions in different areas of North Waziristan on Wednesday, officials and local people said.

However, Inter Services Public Relations said in a statement that six soldiers had been killed and 25 injured in the ambush. It said militants had suffered 15 casualties in a counter-attack.

Local people said they had seen the bodies of 15 soldiers and disputed the ISPR claim that 15 militants had been killed.

The injured soldiers were taken to a military hospital in Bannu.

Sources said a military convoy, going from Miramshah to the Razmak sub-division, came under intense firing by militants after it had hit an improvised explosive device in the Dosali area. The assailants used heavy machine-guns and rockets. Three army trucks were damaged in the attack.

Helicopters were called in to help the troops stranded in a narrow gorge.

This was the deadliest attack on army personnel in the region since Oct 9 when troops, backed by jet bombers and helicopters, had heavily bombed suspected locations in several villages of Mirali, killing more than 100 people.

Tension gripped the area after the attacks and when troops blocked some main routes in the agency.

Sources said the convoy struck another explosive device in the Damdail area and four soldiers were injured.

Another convoy, going from the Razmak sub-division to Miramshah, the agency headquarters, hit a bomb planted on the road. Two soldiers were injured.

The forces were shelling the Assadkhel village from their base camp in Miramshah when this report was filed.

The sources said troops had defused three bombs planted along a main road in the Dre Ghundai area.



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