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Page last updated at 09:39 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 10:39 UK

Pakistan troops killed in clash

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At least five security personnel and seven Taleban militants have been killed in clashes in the north-western Swat region of Pakistan, officials say.

Clashes began after militants attacked a convoy carrying goods and ammunition near Ser Santri, officials said.

Militants blew up two of the trucks with roadside bombs, before launching their attack, officials said.

Troops have been fighting a rising tide of militancy in Swat since last year. Militants want Sharia law introduced.

Insurgency

Taleban spokesman Muslim Khan told the BBC Urdu service that 17 security personnel had been killed and one captured during the battle.

But local police and security officials denied this. A press release from the local army-based media centre said five members of the security forces had died in the fighting.

"Four soldiers and one police officer were killed in the fighting," local police chief Dilawar Bangash told the BBC.

"At least seven militants were killed and a local commander was captured after being injured in the battle."

Locals say the fighting started on Tuesday afternoon and continued late into the night. The convoy had been taking supplies to a paramilitary fort from the town of Kabal.

Correspondents say the security situation in Swat has been steadily deteriorating since the breakdown in the summer of a peace agreement between the government and the leading militant there, Maulana Fazlullah.

The Swat valley, once Pakistan's most famous tourist destination, has been the scene of an insurgency by his followers since 2007.


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