Dozens of Taliban fighters, including suicide bombers, attacked a security forces' check post in Pakistan's restive northwest today, triggering an intense gun battle that killed 35 people, including 13 security personnel and 10 civilians.
Security forces repulsed the attack on the isolated check post, located at Serai Norang area of Lakki Marwat district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, after an exchange of fire that continued for over three hours.
The militants, who were armed with rocket-propelled grenades, launched the assault shortly before 4 am.
"Twelve terrorists were killed. The bodies of four terrorists, of whom two were wearing suicide jackets, are in the custody of the security forces," said a security official who did not want to be named.
Four personnel of the Frontier Constabulary and nine soldiers died in the fighting, security officials said.
Eight injured security personnel were taken to military hospitals in Bannu and Peshawar.
Ten members of the same family were killed when a suicide bomber entered a house near the check post and blew himself up, officials told the media.
Three women and as many children were among the dead.
Officials had initially said that a dozen civilians were killed but they revised the toll after the gun battle ended.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan claimed responsibility for the attack.
He claimed four suicide bombers were involved in the assault, which he said was carried out in retaliation for the death of two Taliban commanders in recent US drone strikes.
In phone calls to reporters in the northwest, Ihsan accused the Pakistan Army of helping in the drone strikes.
Media reports said the Taliban fighters used heavy weapons to target the check post. About 40 militants carried out the attack.
Sounds of explosions and firing were heard in the area for several hours, local residents said.
The attack came a day after a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Shia mosque at Hangu town in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, killing 29 people and injuring over 50.