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Associated Press Featured Article

August 31, 2010

Militants attack army intel office in NW Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Suspected Islamist militants attacked an army intelligence office Saturday in northwestern Pakistan, officials said, setting off a gunbattle that paralyzed parts of the city.

Captured militant suspects were being questioned in the office at the time of the attack, two local police officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information. It was not clear, though, if the attack was tied to the questioning.

Bashir Bilour, a senior minister in the province, said the shooting began when militants tried to enter the building, but security forces fended off the attack.

"They have been surrounded and so far there are no casualties," he told reporters.

The area around the office was sealed off soon after the attack, which began about 6 a.m. Sporadic gunfire could still be heard more than five hours later, shutting down blocks of the city.

Peshawar is the capital of troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where militants often target police and security forces.

The area where the assault happened is near the American Consulate, but police said that building was not the target. TV footage showed commandos and police surrounding the consulate and checking vehicles.

The shooting began hours after suspected U.S. missiles struck two vehicles carrying militants in northwest Pakistan and killed four of them.

The overnight missile attack happened in the troubled Kurram tribal region bordering Afghanistan. The slain men were from Taliban's Haqqani network, which is blamed for launching attacks across the border against the American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, two intelligence officials said. The spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Although the CIA has repeatedly targeted militant positions in Pakistan's tribal regions, such strikes in Kurram are rare.


Associated Press (News - Alert) writer Hussain Afzal contributed to this report from Parachinar.



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