LANDI KOTAL, April 11: At least nine soldiers, seven militants and two volunteers of a pro-government armed group were killed as clashes continued in parts of Tirah on Thursday.

Sources said that security forces and volunteers of Tawheedul Islam, a pro-government Zakhakhel armed group, moved forward into Sipah area and took control of Lashkar-i-Islam’s strongholds of Sandana and Sheikhmal Khel after heavy fighting which left nine soldiers and seven militants dead.

Twelve militants were injured. Two volunteers of the Zakhakhel armed group were also killed in clashes.

Security forces arrested three militants of Lashkar-i-Islam.

Sources said that security forces took control of LI bunkers in Sipah area and also engaged LI militants in fierce fighting in Karank and Spagnah areas of Akkakhel, destroying an LI base after driving out insurgents from there.

They said that volunteers of Tawheedul Islam set on fire dozens of houses belonging to their opponents after taking control of Sandana and Sheikhmal Khel areas.

Dozens of families started moving out of Sheen Drang and Sanzal Khel areas of Akkakhel in Bara on Thursday as security forces pounded the area with artillery after militants of Lashkar-i-Islam seized some houses of the Akkakhel peace committee members.Sources said that while the LI activists torched houses of Zameer Gul and Baran Gul, local peace committee commanders, a number of other houses were badly damaged by the artillery shelling. The intense shelling compelled area residents to move out to safe localities.