Militant clash kills three personnel in North Waziristan



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14/10/29  PESHAWAR - Three security personnel lost their lives and four others were injured in a clash with militants in the restive northwest. "The incident occurred at Spin Qabar neighbourhood near Bara area of Khyber tribal district when the security forces were carrying out a clearance search operation for suspected militants," a local security official based in Peshawar city told AFP. "Three personnel of the security forces embraced martyrdom and four others were injured", he said. He said the security forces retaliated killing 15 militants. Another security official confirmed the incident. Pakistan has been battling Islamist groups in its semi-autonomous tribal belt since 2004, after its army entered the region to search for Al-Qaeda fighters who had fled across the border following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. In June the army began a long-awaited offensive against militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal agency after a bloody raid on Karachi Airport ended faltering peace talks between the government and the Taliban.

Pakistan s army says it has killed more than a thousand militants and lost 86 soldiers since the start of the operation.

But the number and identity of those killed is difficult to verify because journalists do not have regular access to the conflict zones.