Pakistani gunship kills four in tribal area

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan - A Pakistani helicopter gunship fired on a suspicious car that was following an army convoy near the Afghan border on Monday, killing four suspected Islamic militants, officials said.

By (AFP)

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Published: Mon 30 Jul 2007, 2:38 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:23 AM

The incident was the latest in a series of violent confrontations on the road between Miranshah, the main town in the troubled North Waziristan tribal region, and the garrison town of Bannu, a local security official said.

“The army spotted the car and ordered them to stop and they ignored the warning. They were fired on by a helicopter escorting the convoy,” the security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“Four people inside the car were killed, they are suspected militants.”

North Waziristan has seen a spike in violence since pro-Taleban militants scrapped a peace deal with the government on July 15 and after the army stormed a radical mosque in Islamabad earlier in the month.

In a separate attack early Monday, insurgents fired two rockets at the airstrip of an army base in Miranshah, wounding four troops, officials said. Security forces responded with artillery fire, they said.

One rocket damaged the runway used by the military while the other hit a water tank compound guarded by soldiers, the official said, adding that one of the four injured was in serious condition.

Separately four paramilitary soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle in North Waziristan, officials said.

Chief military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad said security forces have set up four new checkposts in Miranshah’s main bazaar to prevent attacks and stop thefts and looting.

The army’s creation of new checkpoints was a major factor in the breakdown of the peace accord, which itself was criticised by Washington and Kabul.

“The bazaar is being declared a weapon-free area because of the frequent crimes,” Arshad told AFP.

The United States, Islamabad’s key ally, has branded Pakistan’s tribal belt a safe haven for Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda movement, a charge that Pakistani officials deny.

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