Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

9 Pakistani soldiers, 12 militant die in clashes

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Feb 2, IRNA -- Nine Pakistani soldiers and 12 militants were killed in clashes in northwest of the country early Saturday, security sources said.

The clashes started after armed militants attacked an army's residential colony in Lakki Marwat area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, they said.

Official sources confirmed that nine soldiers were killed and eight others were injured. The injured soldiers were evacuated to a nearby military hospital.

Sources said the forces killed 12 militants while some fled after the shooting and were hiding in the nearby area. The security forces conducted search operation in the area.

The sources said both sides exchanged fire for nearly two hours and used heavy weapons including rocket propelled grenades and automatic guns.

The militants, equipped with heavy arms and some wearing suicide jackets, launched a pre-dawn attack on the army's residential quarters, official sources said.

Sources said that some rockets also landed on nearby houses, causing casualties. Local TV channels reported that several people were killed when a rocket hit a house. There was no official confirmation of civilian casualties.

Troops from other nearby areas also rushed to the area to strengthen position of the forces at the camp.

The security forces made announcements through loudspeakers, asking the residents to stay indoors. The panic-gripped the area and locals said they heard huge explosions and heavy fire for hours.

The security forces surrounded the area after the incident and stopped traffic and movement of the people. The media teams were also barred from heading to the area.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, launched at 3 a.m.

The government blames Taliban militants for such attacks.

**1771
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80525780



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