World Bulletin / News Desk
Security forces have claimed killing 23 suspected Taliban fighters in a pitched gun-battle and night-long raids in troubled North Waziristan, security officials said.
“The gun-battle continued for various hours that resulted in killing of at least 23 fighters, and injuring several others," a senior security official detailed in the locality told Anadolu Agency wishing not to be named.
He said the gun-battle began when fighters tried to ambush a security convoy, which was returning after rescue operation in Khajoori area where a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a security checkpoint on Wednesday evening killing 5 soldiers, and injuring 42. Raids were also conducted in different parts of Mir Ali town, the second largest town of North Waziristan after capital Miramshah.
On the other hand, area people claim that the security forces hurled mortars in different parts of Mir Ali on Wednesday night killing various civilians including women and children. A local journalist on condition of anonymity told AA that he had personally seen dead and injured women and children.
“I cannot say how many of the deceased (23) are actual fighters, but what I can tell you is that they included various women and children," he asserted.
An army spokesman, however, denied any civilian casualty in the gun-battle. North Waziristan, an epicenter of US drone strikes, has been a battle ground between security forces and Taliban fighters.
The US dubs the territory as heartland of militancy and a bastion of powerful Haqqani network blamed for various deadly attacks on foreign forces in Afghanistan.Taliban fighters have threatened to avenge the death of their slain chief Hakeemullah Mehsud who was killed in a drone strike on November 1 in North Waziristan.
Suicide blast kills five in N.Waziristan
Five security personnel were killed and 40 injured when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a security checkpoint at the entrance point to troubled North Waziristan, security officials said.
“Four security personnel embraced Shahadat (martyrdom) on the spot, while fifth soldier died at the hospital”, a security official in the area told Anadolu Agency, wishing not to be named as he was not allowed to talk to media.
The suicide bomber struck the checkpoint at Khajoori checkpoint, the door to North Waziristan at the sunset when soldiers were busy in offering Magrib prayers, the official said.
“It was the deadliest attack after killing of Hakeemullah Mehsud causing casualties and injuries in large numbers”, he said referring to death of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Chief Hakeemullah Mehsud who was killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan on November 1 this year.
Taliban have threatened the government to avenge the death of their leader by targeting security forces across the country.
This was the sixth attack on security forces since November 1 on security forces killing 16 soldiers and injuring over 70.
A little-known group Ansar-ul-Mujahiddin has claimed the responsibility for that tack.
A purported spokesman of the group, Abu Baseer told local newsmen that the attack was carried out in retaliation of the death of Hakeemullah Mehsud.
He warned that more attacks would be carried out in future.
Pakistan government on Wednesday reiterated its offer for peace talks with Taliban to end over a decade-long homegrown militancy killing thousands of people, including 4,000 soldiers.
However, Taliban , apparently angry over death of Mehsud who was killed soon after the peace talks offer by the government, have refused to hold talks with the government.Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Aralık 2013, 15:51