Tue, Jul 24, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Pakistani troops wounded by bomb, rockets

AP , MIRAN SHAH, PAKISTAN

A roadside bomb near an army convoy and rocket attacks on military posts wounded seven troops yesterday in northwestern Pakistan, where violence has escalated since Islamic militants withdrew from a peace deal, intelligence officials said.

The attacks in North Waziristan, along the border with Afghanistan, followed a weekend of violence that the military said left 19 suspected militants dead.

Two soldiers were injured in rocket attacks on two posts in the Ramzak area before dawn yesterday, an intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Troops guarding the security posts returned fire, but it was not known if the assailants suffered any casualties, the official said.

An army convoy sent to evacuate the wounded soldiers then came under attack as it headed to Ramzak, still under cover of darkness, he said. Militants detonated a remote-controlled bomb near the convoy just south of Miran Shah, North Waziristan's main town, wounding five soldiers, the official said.

The peace pact, which was aimed at stopping militants from crossing into Afghanistan, was signed last September and led to a period of relative calm.

But the militants announced last week that they had scrapped the accord, saying authorities had violated the deal by redeploying troops to posts they had vacated under the deal.

Violence has flared across Pakistan since a deadly military raid on a radical mosque in the capital Islamabad earlier this month. Suicide bombings and shootings have left at least 289 people dead, mostly in the northwest.

Fighting between security forces and suspected Islamic militants over the weekend left 19 militants dead in North Waziristan, Major General Waheed Arshad, the army's top spokesman said on Sunday.

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