Mon, Jul 13, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Officials ambushed in northwestern Pakistan, six dead

AP AND AFP , PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN

Gunmen ambushed five police officers and a forestry official responding to reports of a dead body in northwestern Pakistan, killing all six, police said yesterday.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities did not rule out Taliban militants.

The insurgents, who have run roughshod over the Pakistani region bordering Afghanistan in recent years, have frequently targeted security forces, though usually through roadside bombs and suicide attacks.

The ambush took place late on Saturday in a forested area in the Mansehra district, an area believed home to several training camps for militants involved in the conflict with India over the Kashmir region.

A bullet-riddled body of an unknown man also was found at the scene along with the dead security officials, police officer Rashid Khan said. The gunmen also set fire to the responding police van and took away the victims’ weapons, Khan said.

The attack comes as Pakistan’s military is engaged in multiple offensives in various parts of the northwest. In recent weeks, violence has flared in several spots in the region, some of it in apparent retaliation.

Also yesterday, police raided a suspected militant hideout in the Khyber tribal region, arresting 11 men alleged to have attacked convoys carrying supplies to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, military official Mujahid Hussain told reporters.

The troops also seized hundreds of bullet rounds, rocket launchers, wireless equipment and documents, he said.

The Khyber tribal district lies between Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province, and landlocked Afghanistan and is a key strategic route for vital civil and military supplies to the war-torn country.

Meanwhile, troops killed five Taliban militants and destroyed their hideouts in a northwestern village yesterday, officials said.

Pakistani artillery pounded two Taliban hideouts in Lower Dir district’s Kashmor village killing five rebels and injuring five others, district coordination officer Ghulam Mohammad said.

The two hideouts were targeted and destroyed after prior intelligence information, the official said.

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