MIRAMSHAH, May 7: Explosions rocked Miramshah on Monday after military helicopters attacked arms markets, leaving several people dead and wounded.
Also on Monday, two beheaded bodies of security personnel were found near the Zafar Town chowk with militants having hung their heads from poles in bazaars.
Official sources said 10 soldiers had been killed and over 20 wounded in clashes with militants since Sunday.
Officials and witnesses said that bodies of 12 militants were found in a compound which had been hit by artillery fire on Sunday night. The dead belonged to the Asmat Al-Maavia group, a hitherto unknown militant faction.
Sources said that five ‘Punjabi’ and seven Mahsud militants had been killed in the compound.
Residents said that heavy exchanges of fire continued on Sunday night and rockets, heavy artillery and mortars were used.
Helicopter gunships shelled militants’ positions in the Dattakhel village and Zafar Town areas.
According to residents, the helicopters fired two missiles on two arms ammunition markets housing over 50 shops, triggering a series of explosions and a huge blaze.
The sources said that militants encircled soldiers who had raided a compound near Miramshah after Sunday’s clashes. Two of the soldiers were captured by the militants.
Two grandsons of Dawn’s correspondent were among the people who suffered injuries in explosions which followed the attacks on the markets.
The explosions ripped through the double-storey Malik Noor Din Market, killing two people and injuring 15 others. The explosions continued as the fire spread, destroying shops, restaurants and nearby houses.
People started leaving the town for safe places. Rescue work by tribesmen was affected because of a curfew imposed on Sunday.
A shell landed on the house of a tribesman, killing a woman and injuring two girls. Seven other people, including women and children, were injured in an adjacent house. A missile fired by militants hit the Tochi Scout Fort, killing one paramilitary soldier.
A militant named Usman was killed and three passersby were injured in a separate clash. The militants snatched three vehicles from security forces during the clash.
The political administration lifted the curfew in the afternoon after negotiations with elders and representatives of the peace committee.
The sources said that tribal elders were negotiating to restore peace in the area.