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14 killed as Taliban infighting erupts again in Waziristan

07 May, 2014

MIRANSHAH: At least 12 militants died during a shootout between rival factions in a restive tribal region near the Afghan border Tuesday, officials said, while two died in a separate attack.

Supporters of Tehreek-e-Taliban commander Khan Said Sajna and followers of the late TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud clashed in the Shawal area of the troubled North Waziristan district, a security official told AFP. Four other militants were wounded during the gunfight which was still continuing, the official said late Tuesday.

Local intelligence officials and militant sources confirmed the clash and casualties. Earlier in the day two militants were killed in a bomb blast at a bazaar in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, known as a stronghold of Taliban and al Qaeda linked militants.

"It was a remote control bomb which targeted Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militants. Two of them have been killed and two others are injured," an intelligence official told AFP.

A militant source confirmed the attack, and said that those killed were members of the main faction of the TTP, headed by warlord Mullah Fazlullah. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but infighting between different Taliban factions have killed dozens of people in the area recently.

The latest attack comes two weeks after the Pakistani Taliban formally ended a ceasefire called to promote talks with the government aimed at ending the militants' bloody seven-year insurgency.

Moreover, two members of a pro-government militia were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in northwest on Tuesday, officials said.

The incident happened in the Mastak area of the Khyber tribal district, 71 kilometres southwest of Peshawar. "Two people were killed and three injured when their vehicle was blown up by an improvised explosive device," local administration official Ali Sher told AFP.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. A senior security official said the militia to which the men belonged was battling the Lashkar-e-Islam, an al Qaeda affiliate. "The people were fighters of the pro-government militia Touheed-ul-Islam which is fighting against Lashkar-e-Islam," he said.

Earlier on Tuesday two militants were killed and two injured when a bomb exploded in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan. North Waziristan is one of the seven tribal districts that border Afghanistan and are a stronghold of al Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Pakistan began talks with the Pakistani Taliban in February to try to end their bloody seven-year insurgency. But a month-long ceasefire with the group expired in April and the dialogue appears to have stalled.

End.

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