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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 05:41 GMT 06:41 UK
Fighting in Pakistan tribal area
Pakistani soldier near Miran Shah
Violence has escalated since the army stormed the Red Mosque
The Pakistani army says it has killed at least 10 pro-Taleban militants in the tribal region of North Waziristan, close to the Afghan border.

The dead included suspected foreign fighters, the army said.

Troops launched an attack in the area on Tuesday, backed by helicopter gunships and artillery.

The US says North Waziristan, a tribal region that borders Afghanistan, is a safe haven for the Taleban and al-Qaeda but Pakistan denies the claim.

The fighting began on Tuesday in the Degan area, 27km (17 miles) from the main town of the region, Miranshah.

The security forces targeted the militant compound in Degan after receiving "credible intelligence that miscreants were present there", the army said.

Witnesses in Degan told Reuters news agency that helicopters destroyed three houses. They said the army was using mortars and artillery too.

At least three civilians were hurt in the shelling but most people had already left the affected area, having feared an assault.

Map of NW Pakistan

Violence flared in North Waziristan earlier this month when tribal leaders ended a truce with the government after troops stormed the radical Red Mosque in the capital, Islamabad.

More than 200 people have been killed in the escalating violence in Pakistan since troops stormed the mosque in July.

The attack came as President Pervez Musharraf called for a comprehensive strategy to deal with radicals.

Pakistan has been angered about recent statements coming out of the US, particularly from presidential candidate Barack Obama, who said he would consider direct attacks against militants within Pakistan.

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