Pakistan army helicopter gunships strike militant hideout

Army helicopter gunships struck a militant hideout in a tribal region of northwestern Pakistan, killing six suspects, including four foreigners, an intelligence official said Thursday.

The attack was carried out Wednesday night in Anghar Kalai village in the North Waziristan tribal area, which borders Afghanistan, said an intelligence official in the region's main town of Miran Shah. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of his job.

He did not have information on the identities or nationalities of the suspected foreigners. The two other men who were killed in the attack were local tribesmen, he said.

Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, the top Pakistan army spokesman, confirmed the raid, saying Cobra helicopter gunships were used. But he did not have information on any suspected militant casualties, adding that "we are getting details."

"We had information about the presence of foreign militants. It was a sting operation...the target was knocked out," Sultan said from the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, where the army is headquartered.

Islamic militants, Arabs, Central Asian and Afghans suspected of having links with the Afghanistan's Taliban militia and al-Qaida, are believed to be in North and the adjacent South Waziristan tribal regions.

Security officials blame the militants for a steady stream of attacks against security forces in North Waziristan in recent weeks.

Militants and Pakistani troops have also clashed in the region recently but local pro-Taliban tribal militants are believed to be active in the most of the latest fighting.

Last Wednesday, a suspected militant rocket attack on a military post in North Waziristan triggered gunbattles between the fighters and Pakistani troops, leaving four soldiers and 40 suspected militants dead. Nineteen other fighters were captured, according to security officials, reports the AP.


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