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40 Al Qaeda militants killed by Pak forces

March 01, 2006 19:25 IST

As US President George W Bush promised to raise the issue of cross-border terrorism with President Pervez Musharraf when he visits Pakistan, security forces Wednesday claimed to have killed 40 suspected Al Qaeda militants, including a Chechen commander in the tribal region near the Pak-Afghan border.

Pakistani troops backed by helicopter gunships struck the militants' hideout near the Afghan border, killing 40 fighters, reports reaching Islamabad quoted army officials as saying.

They said most of the militants killed were from Central Asian states and Arab countries.

One soldier and a civilian were also reportedly killed in fierce fighting after the army surrounded the training camp in Saidgai village in North Waziristan, they said adding, 15 people were wounded in the attack.

Security officials identified the Chechen as Imam and said he was killed when he tried to escape during the raid.

Pakistan government administrator of Waziristan region Sayed Zaheerul Islam earlier told reporters that troops attacked a training camp of "foreign miscreants", near Saidgai, about 15 km north of Miranshah, the region's main town.

In Islamabad, Pakistan defence spokesman, Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan said the raid was launched on the basis of "confirmed intelligence" that militants were present in the area.

K J M Varma in Islamabad
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