Roadside bomb attack wounds 7 soldiers
A roadside bomb near an army convoy and rocket attacks on military posts wounded seven troops on Monday in northwestern Pakistan, where violence has escalated since Islamic militants withdrew from a peace deal, intelligence officials said.
The attacks in North Waziristan, along the border with Afghanistan, followed a weekend of violence that the military said left 19 suspected militants dead..
Two soldiers were injured in rocket attacks on two security posts in the Ramzak area before dawn on Monday, an intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.
Troops guarding the posts returned fire, but it was not known if the assailants suffered any casualties, said the official who was not authorized to speak to the media.
An army convoy deployed to evacuate the wounded soldiers then came under attack as it headed to Ramzak, still under cover of darkness, he said.
Militants detonated a remote-controlled bomb near the military vehicles just south of Miran Shah, North Waziristan's main town, wounding five troops, the official said. The peace pact, which was aimed at stopping militants from crossing into neighboring Afghanistan, was signed in September last year and led to a period of relative calm.
But the militants announced last week that they had scrapped the accord, saying authorities had violated the deal by redeploying troops to posts they had vacated under the deal.
Violence has flared across Pakistan since a deadly military raid on a radical mosque in the capital Islamabad earlier this month. Suicide bombings and shootings have left at least 289 people dead, mostly in the volatile northwest.
Over the weekend, fighting between security forces and suspected Islamic militants left 19 militants dead across North Waziristan, Maj Gen Waheed Arshad, the army's top spokesman said on Sunday. Arab, Afghan and Central Asian militants suspected of links with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda backed by area tribesmen are operating in North Waziristan, according to Pakistani security officials. Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is also thought to be hiding in the region.
In Washington, President George W Bush's homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend, said on Sunday that if needed the US would consider using military force against Al-Qaeda to stop it from using its hideout in Pakistan to launch terrorist attacks.