Five militants, one soldier die as Pakistan forces, gunmen clash
Iran Press TV
Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:16PM
At least six people have been killed when Pakistan's security forces and militants engaged in an exchange of fire in the troubled northwestern tribal region near the border with Afghanistan.
The gun battle took place on Friday as Pakistani soldiers conducted an operation near the remote town of Datta Khel, North Waziristan. Five militants and a soldier were killed in the process.
The Pakistani military identified the slain soldier as Major Zahid Iqbal.
The development comes days after Pakistani officials said they had killed an al-Qaeda-linked commander responsible for a recent deadly bomb attack at a Shia mosque.
Abdur Razzaq Cheema, police chief for the city of Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's Balochistan Province, said on February 16 that a government paramilitary force killed Usman Saifullah Kurd and one of his aides on the city's outskirts a day earlier.
On February 10, at least 15 suspected militants and one Pakistani army soldier were killed during a firefight in the town of Basima, located southwest of Quetta.
According to Pakistani intelligence officials, the militants were involved in subversive activities, including targeted bombings and killings, in the area.
The Pakistani army started an operation against militant hideouts in North Waziristan last June, after a deadly raid on the Karachi International Airport ended the government's faltering peace talks with the pro-Taliban militants.
The semi-autonomous tribal regions on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan have been a hideout for Takfiri militant groups, including al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, during the past years.
Pakistan intensified its anti-terror campaign following a December 16, 2014 attack on an army-run school in the city of Peshawar, which claimed the lives of about 150 people.
Since 2001, when the Pakistani government entered an alliance with the United States in its so-called war on terror, many Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks in the country.
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