A day after a US drone strike killed 10 insurgents in North Waziristan Agency, militants attacked a military convoy in the region, killing nine soldiers, a statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations said.
A clash erupted after the convoy came under attack at the Amin picket. The picket which is located a kilometre west of Miramshah had been receiving fire for the last two days, however, the clashes turned into an intense battle on Sunday. “Heavy casualties were inflicted on them [militants],” the ISPR said.
Several militants were killed in the clash. However, the exact number of militant casualties could not be confirmed. An official of the political administration said that injured personnel were airlifted to an army hospital.
After over two hours of fighting, security forces called in air support. Helicopter gunships soon became airborne and pounded militant hideouts. “They were fleeing in a car from Miramshah bazaar when a gunship got them,” a security official said.
During the fighting a shell landed on a mosque, killing three civilians and wounding 15, another security official added.
In the neighbouring Kurram Agency, at least 11 people were killed while several were injured in multiple attacks which came a day after the local authorities claimed that 95% of the region had been cleared of militants.
At least nine people, including three women, were injured when gunmen opened fire on a passenger van in Lower Kurram Agency.
An official of the political administration said that a van came under attack in the area of Sakhi Ahmad near Arawali village of Lower Kurram while it was en route to Peshawar from Parachinar.
“Armed men in a Toyota Corolla opened fire on the van,” the official said, adding that the driver managed to control the van despite heavy firing and escaped the line of fire.
The injured belonged to the Turi Bangash tribe. There was condemnation from both Sunni and Shia elders in the area who claimed that the incident was aimed to sabotage the peace agreement in the area after which the Parachinar-Sadda Highway had been reopened.
Separately, the house of a pro-government tribal elder was attacked by armed men in the Turbat area of Central Kurram. Two people were killed and a woman was injured in the attack on the house of Malik Rehan, who was remained unhurt. Locals put the number of attackers at 15.
Security forces surrounded the area soon after the attack and mounted a manhunt for the attackers. “Malik Rehan is a member of the peace committee and has played an important role in restoring peace in the area,” said an official of the political administration.
In adjoining Orakzai Agency, at least eight suspected militants were killed when security forces bombed their hideouts on Sunday, officials said.
Security officials said militant hideouts were targeted in the Mamozai and Ali Khel areas of Upper Orakzai and three of their hideouts were destroyed. Mamozai is believed to be the last militant stronghold in Orakzai.
(Additional input by our correspondents in Parachinar, Hangu, D I Khan and Peshawar)
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2012.
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