Army: Militants in NW Pakistan kill 2 soldiers, 3 civilians

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Militants armed with assault rifles attacked security forces in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border Monday, triggering a shootout that killed two soldiers, three civilians and four insurgents, the army said.

The attack happened in Bajur, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Bajur which is a former militant stronghold. In a statement, the military said the three civilians were killed by militant fire.

The statement said the Pakistani army was “determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and (that) such sacrifices of our brave soldiers and innocent citizens further strengthen our resolve.”

Pakistan’s northwestern tribal regions, which share a lengthy porous border with Afghanistan, for years served as a safe haven for militants until the military carried out massive operations to try to clear the area. That forced the militants to escape into Afghanistan or hide in other areas near the border.

But such militant attacks on troops have continued in recent years in the region.

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