Pakistan attack leaves at least 40 militants dead

Pakistan attack leaves at least 40 militants dead
# 24 January 2008 12:40 (UTC +04:00)
At least eight soldiers also died.
The fighting took place in South Waziristan, a militant stronghold where the rebel leader blamed by the CIA and Pakistan’s government for masterminding last month’s assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto is believed to be hiding.
The militants were killed in a series of raids Wednesday and early Thursday in the mountainous region.
Three districts in South Waziristan "had been cleared of militant strongholds and hideouts" as a result of the operations, the Pakistani military said in a statement, adding that 40 of the rebels had been killed and 30 others arrested.
Eight soldiers also died, the statement said, giving no more details.
South Waziristan is a semiautonomous region where the central government has never had much control. It is home to scores of al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, many of whom fled there from neighboring Afghanistan after the U.S-led invasion in 2001.
Surging violence in the region as well as a series of bloody suicide bombs against security forces around the country have added to pressures on President Pervez Musharraf ahead of elections next month that many predict will loosen his grip on power. Associated Press
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