GHALANAI/PARACHINAR, May 23: Eight militants and a soldier were killed during a clash in Suran Darra area of Mohmand tribal region on Monday, sources said.

They said that three personnel of security forces were also injured in the clash. Sources said that fierce fighting erupted between security forces and militants in Surran Dara and Mattai as both sides used heavy weapons.

One soldier was killed and three others sustained injuries in the clash, they said, adding the injured were shifted to Peshawar CMH.

Political administration officials said that security forces backed by helicopter gunships pounded militant hideouts. Eight militants were killed and several others received injuries in the shelling, they added.

Meanwhile, a truck driver and two labourers were reportedly kidnapped by Taliban in Bahai Dag area of tehsil Khwezai. Taliban claimed that they had taken the truck into custody and arrested the driver and labourers.

It may be recalled that Taliban had killed three drivers and torched four trucks in the area.

In another incident, a volunteer of Sultan Peace Committee was injured in a landmine explosion in Othmarkhel area of tehsil Baizai. The injured volunteer identified as Sher Afzal was taken to ICRC hospital in Peshawar.

Meanwhile, four persons were killed and 19 others received injuries in sporadic clashes between rival factions in different parts of Kurram Agency on Monday.

According to unconfirmed reports nine more bodies were found in the area between Sadda and Balishkhel. However, officials and residents of Sadda town denied the reports.

Sources said that security forces were targeting positions of the rival factions with artillery and tanks in Balishkhel and Sadda to dislodge armed men, but they had not been fully succeeded. Sadda town was still under curfew.

The rival groups were attacking each other positions with rockets, mortars and heavy guns. Several houses were also damaged in Balishkhel, Sadda, Sangina and Khar villages. Locals have evacuated women and children from the embattled areas.

They said that three children were injured when rockets fired from Tangi area hit houses in Shalozan near Parachinar. The wounded children were shifted to the agency headquarters hospital in Parachinar.

Officials said that political administration formed a joint jirga, which started talks with the rival groups to broker ceasefire between the residents of Sadda and Balishkhel.

A spokesman for Tanzeem Majlis-i-Ulema, Kurram Agency Allama Mohammad Ibrahim Muhammadi urged the government to take decisive action against militants in the area.

He said that militants resorted to violence after corps commander hinted at launching a military operation in the area. He said that militants attacked Balishkhel after the announcement of launching military operation.

He said that trouble-makers had made people in lower and central Kurram hostages. He alleged that militants had entered Kurram from other tribal agencies and local administration failed to block their entry.

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