Gunbattle leaves 10 militants dead: 12 troops killed in Waziristan attack
MIRAMSHAH, June 28: Twelve soldiers were killed after militants reportedly aligned with the Baitullah Mehsud group ambushed a military convoy in North Waziristan on Sunday. Ten militants were killed in the ensuing gunbattle.
Ten soldiers were injured in the attack, sources said.
The convoy was attacked in the Wacha Bibi near Datakhel, about 35 kilometres west of Miramshah.
Security forces and militants were engaged in fierce clashes till late night.
According to local people, helicopters were bombing militants’ positions.
‘Hafiz’ Gul Bahadur, who heads local militants, claimed responsibility for the attack on the convoy. A man claiming to be a spokesman for ‘Hafiz’ and identifying himself as Ahmadullah Ahmadi told Dawn over phone that his group had organised the ambush.
Gul Bahadur joined hands with
Baitullah Mehsud and ‘Maulvi’ Nazir in South Waziristan a few months ago and they had formed the so-called Shoora Ittihad-i-Mujahideen.
“About 60 soldiers have been killed and 16 trucks destroyed,” the man claimed.
Local people said that the convoy was patrolling the area when it hit a mine and it was attacked soon after. They said that the attackers also fired rockets at the convoy.
Troops called in helicopters which shelled militants’ positions.
Ahmadullah Ahmadi also claimed responsibility for attacks on a military convoy on Friday. Three soldiers were killed and 18 others wounded in two bomb attacks on the convoy which was going from Miramshah to Bannu.
He said that attacks would continue unless the “government stopped drone attacks” and pulled out troops from the North Waziristan.
Our Correspondent adds from Wana: Planes carried out strikes against militant positions in South Waziristan on Sunday.
Sources said that one soldier and a civilian were killed and seven others, including four soldiers, were wounded in rocket attacks on Tanai Fort and a convoy.
The sources said that militants fired rockets on Sunday night in which one soldier was killed and four others were injured.
The Inter Services Public Relations said one non-commissioned officer was killed in the attack.
In another incident, a man was killed and three others were injured
when they were caught in crossfire during a clash between soldiers and militants following an attack on a military convoy in Raghzai.
There are reports that 12 militants were killed and seven wounded in air strikes on various areas. The sources said that warplanes bombed positions in Kotkai, Sararogha and Laddha. They said that six houses were also damaged in bombing.
Agencies add: Sunday’s air strikes were on two villages in Laddah district, a Mehsud stronghold, and two militant compounds were destroyed, said a government official in Wana.
“It was a heavy bombing. Two militant compounds and several houses have been completely destroyed,” he said.
The air strikes came after militants attacked an army and a paramilitary camp east of Wana on Saturday night, killing two soldiers and wounding four, he said.
Intelligence officials later said eight militants had been killed.
CIVILIANS FLEE: With an increase in military attacks on Mehsuds in South Waziristan, about 45,000 people have fled from the area, according to military estimates.
Aid workers, however, do not expect a huge exodus from South Waziristan because the population there is relatively small.
Also, many people have winter homes on the lowland to the east and traditionally migrate to higher altitudes with their flocks for summer grazing.
Our Correspondent adds from Timergara: Three members of a family were killed and five others injured when a mortar shell hit a house in Gall Maidan area on Sunday morning.
The area residents said the victims were non-combatant.
They identified the dead as Faridullah, Fayaz and Aseemullah.
Raham Bacha and Rahmatullah and three children were among the injured, they said.
The injured were taken to the DHQ hospital Timergara where their condition is said to be stable.