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24 more killed in TTP-AI clashes

15 March, 2013

BARA: Twenty-four more persons were killed in the ongoing clashes between the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and pro-government armed organisation Ansarul Islam (AI) as around 300 troops entered the area on Thursday to help the latter in the Maidan area of Tirah Valley, Khyber Agency, tribal and official sources said.

The sources said clashes between the two rivals continued on the second consecutive day on Thursday in Tarkikhel of Qambarkhel in Maidan locality of the valley in which small and heavy weapons were used.

Eyewitnesses fleeing the area told that while running away from Tarkikhel and surrounding areas they saw around 30 bodies lying on the ground in the battlefield. Tribal sources said that 24 persons had been killed in the exchange of fire between the two sides.

Dozens of shops in Bar Bagh, a market place, were destroyed due to the shelling by the TTP.

The spokesman for AI, Sadaat Afridi, said only three of their volunteers were killed in the fresh fighting and denied the entry of security forces in the Maidan area controlled by the government-backed AI.

However, local sources said that around 300 troops entered Maidan from the neighbouring Orakzai Agency via Arkhanga route and reached the Qambarkhel area to support the AI against the TTP.

While addressing on the FM radio, the head of AI Qazi Mehboob welcomed the security forces and asked his volunteers to extend warm hospitality to the guests, a radio listener told by phone.

The sources said that the volunteers of AI pushed the fighters of the TTP back from Tarkikhel to Qayumkhel in the valley. It is for the first time that the Army entered Maidan, the heartland of Afridi tribe in the valley.

End.

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