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Page last updated at 07:35 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Pakistan attack kills four troops

Pakistani students show identification cards at the entry gate of their college on Monday, Oct. 26, 2009 in Lahore
Security is tight at schools and colleges

Taliban militants attacked a military checkpost in Pakistan's tribal area, killing four soldiers, officials said.

The attack comes as troops continue their operation in the South Waziristan region. The army on Saturday captured the key Taliban town of Kotkai.

Meanwhile, schools have reopened in Punjab and Sindh provinces a week after they were closed fearing attacks.

But in the North West Frontier Province they remain closed because of the security threat.

'Sudden assault'

About 20 militants, armed with rockets and guns, attacked the Matak post in Bajaur district near the Afghan border overnight, officials said.

"First they lobbed several rockets and then approached the post and opened fire with automatic weapons," AFP news agency quoted local administration official Ghulam Saidullah as saying.

The "sudden assault" killed four troops and left two wounded, he added.

Officials said soldiers retaliated, killing six Taliban militants and wounding four others.

An internally displaced Pakistani family
Up to 100,000 civilians have fled the conflict zone

Militants have recently stepped up activity in Bajaur, a tribal area along the Afghan border.

Some analysts say the militants could step up attacks on security forces in Bajaur and elsewhere to divert the attention from South Waziristan, where the military is pressing with a major offensive.

Meanwhile, schools and colleges have reopened in Punjab and Sindh provinces.

Security is tight and students are being allowed in after showing their identification cards at the entry gate.

All schools, colleges and universities were ordered shut across Pakistan last Wednesday after suicide bombers attacked a university in Islamabad a day earlier.

The Taliban said they carried out the twin blasts at the International Islamic University in which eight people died and at least 18 were wounded.

They threatened there would be more violence unless the army ended its offensive in the tribal areas of South Waziristan

South Waziristan is considered to be the main sanctuary for Islamic militants outside Afghanistan.

Pakistan launched its offensive last Saturday after a wave of militant attacks, believed to have been orchestrated from South Waziristan, killed more than 150 people.

On Sunday, army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited South Waziristan to meet the field commanders and troops deployed in the area.

The Pakistani army says it has made major gains in the region.

On Saturday, soldiers captured the key Taliban town of Kotkai in South Waziristan, security officials said.

Troops took the town after days of bombardments, officials said.

Kotkai, home to top Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, has seen fierce fighting since Pakistan launched its offensive.

Journalists are being denied access to the area and cannot verify the reports.

Up to 100,000 civilians have fled the conflict zone, the army says.

Map showing Pakistani troop movements in Waziristan



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