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Eight soldiers killed in North Waziristan clash

June 09, 2011

Intelligence officials claimed at least 12 militants have been killed in retaliatory fire by security forces. — File Photo

MIRAMSHAH: Around 150 militants armed with rockets attacked a security checkpost in Pakistan's Waziristan on Thursday, killing eight soldiers, intelligence officials said, as tensions rise in the border region.

Twelve militants were killed in retaliatory firing by security forces.

The attack came on the heels of stepped-up missile strikes by U.S. drone aircraft in the tribal region along the Afghan border regarded as a hub of militants from around the world.

“The militants were carrying rockets and heavy weapons and attacked the checkpost shortly after midnight,” an intelligence official in the region told Reuters.

“Eight soldiers were killed and twelve were wounded,” he added.

Security forces hit back at the militants, killing at least 12 of them and wounding five, another official said.

The attack took place in Makeen, an area on the border between North and Waziristan, which was once a stronghold of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the main alliance of Pakistan's homegrown militant groups involved in suicide and bomb attacks across the country.

Pakistan army launched a major offensive in South Waziristan in 2009, driving TTP fighters out of their bases in the restive region.

Many TTP leaders, including its chief Hakimullah Mehsud, were believed to have fled into North Waziristan.

The United States has been urging the Pakistani military to launch a ground offensive in North Waziristan, which is also the main of the Haqqani network that leads the insurgency just over the border in eastern Afghanistan.