17 militants killed in Pak clash

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 18.07.05

Miranshah (Pakistan), July 17 (Reuters): At least 17 suspected foreign militants, along with women and children, were killed in a clash with Pakistani security forces today near the Afghan border, the Pakistan military said.

Troops surrounded the suspects before dawn in two houses near Miranshah, the main town of the North Waziristan tribal region.

Military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan said the militants opened fire after refusing an appeal from tribal elders to surrender, and soldiers returned fire.

A military statement said the militants used women as shields as they tried to flee, while some women took part in the fighting.

“The militants and women fired back and lobbed grenades that resulted in shahadat (martyrdom) of one soldier,” the statement said.

It was not immediately clear how many women or children were involved.

Several of the militants were believed to be from central Asia.

Four Kazakhstan passports were recovered.

The military statement said arms and ammunition, including detonators, explosive material, switches, circuit diagrams and other material, were found in the hideouts.

Residents of Miranshah, 300 km southwest of Islamabad, said troops had cordoned off the area after the clash. “I have seen some limbs and blood scattered on the earth,” a Reuters reporter at the scene said.

Two days earlier, US forces based in Afghanistan killed 24 suspected al Qaida militants and their Taliban allies on the Pakistan side of the border in North Waziristan.