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24 killed in militant clash in NW Pakistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Jan 26, IRNA -- At least 24 militants were killed and many others injured in a clash between Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Ansarul Islam (AI) militant groups on Friday in Pakistan's north western tribal region, local media reported.

Reports quoting intelligence officials said the gun-battle started late Thursday between the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and rival group Ansarul Islam (AI) in Tirah Valley's Maidan village. The dead included 15 Ansar fighters and nine TTP militants, while several others were also injured.

Officials said the death toll was likely to increase as the fighting had not yet ended.

Speaking to media, Sadat Afridi, a spokesman for the banned Ansarul Islam group, claimed that they had captured over three TTP bases in the valley's Maidan village, and that the fight was still on for a fourth base.

Afridi said that his group has vowed to flush out TTP militants from Tirah Valley as they "carry out attacks on mosques and public places, which is against Islam."

Afridi said that they would not allow the TTP to continue "killing innocent Muslims in the name of religion."

Khyber is among Pakistan's seven semi-autonomous tribal districts near the Afghan border, rife with homegrown insurgents and home to religious extremist organisations including the al Qaeda.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80514381

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