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Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Forces kill more than 45 militants in strike

March 2, 2006

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— Pakistani soldiers and helicopter gunships attacked a suspected al-Qaida camp Wednesday near the Afghan border, killing more than 45 militants and angering residents who called for a holy war days before a visit by President Bush.

As news of the attack spread in the rugged northwestern region, tribesmen who sympathize with the militants came out of their homes and began firing in the air. A mosque loudspeaker urged people to "wage jihad against the army."

The offensive was in North Waziristan, a region controlled by fiercely independent, well-armed tribes believed to be sheltering al-Qaida fugitives and Taliban remnants. The militants often cross the porous Afghan-Pakistan border.

Three helicopter gunships attacked the militants' mountain hideout, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said.

The assault "knocked out a den of foreign militants" and killed more than 45 of them, an army statement said.

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