Twenty-five people have died in fierce clashes between the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Islam militant groups in the restive Khyber tribal region in northwest Pakistan, sources said on Sunday.
The clashes erupted last night following a botched attempt by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan fighters to kidnap Lashkar-e-Islam leader Mani Gul in Tabai Bazar area of Khyber Agency.
The Lashkar-e-Islam foiled the abduction and both sides exchanged fire.
Eight persons were killed in the initial fighting while 17 more died later, the sources said.
The dead includes members of both militant groups and local residents who were caught in the cross-firing.
The gun battle between the two sides continued till this afternoon, source said.
This was the second time that the area has witnessed an armed clash between the Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Islam.
Members of the Lashkar-e-Islam kidnapped some Taliban fighters a few days ago for their involvement in the abduction of two Sikhs from the Tirah valley.
The Lashkar-e-Islam members made the Taliban fighters pay a fine and this infuriated the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s leadership.
The attempted kidnapping of the Lashkar-e-Islam leader was an attempt by the Taliban to take revenge, the sources said.