Stepping up search operations in the country's restive northwest, Pakistani security forces captured 17 suspected militants in Malakand amid reports that at least 12 people, including women, were killed in the cross-fire between the troops and Taliban in the tribal belt.
Two policemen, who were on a routine patrol in Chota Lahor area of Swabi district, located near the volatile Swat valley, were also injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire on them early this morning.
The policemen returned fire though the attackers managed to flee from the scene, reports reaching in Islamabad said. The injured policemen were admitted to a local hospital. Police launched a search for the attackers.
Meanwhile, a report from the tribal belt said six women, four girls and two men were killed and eight others injured during exchanges of fire between security forces and militants on Tuesday. Local tribesmen said eight of the dead belonged to the same family.
The people were killed when shells fired by security forces and the Taliban landed on homes at Data Khel, 45 kms from Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan Agency.
The tribesmen said there were no casualties among the security forces and militants.
Separately, the military said security forces were continuing search and clearance operations in the troubled Malakand division, which includes Swat, with the support of local lashkars or tribal militias.