LAKKI MARWAT - At least 36 people including 15 soldiers and 12 militants were killed on Saturday in a pre dawn attack on a security forces’ camp and a house near Naurang town, some 35 kilometres from here.“Eleven civilians were also killed in the attack on the camp located in a residential colony of irrigation department on the road leading to Bannu from Naurang city,” said official sources. They told that eleven army and frontier constabulary personnel were wounded who were taken to Combined Military Hospital in Bannu.Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, said to be biggest in the area, saying it was in response to a US drone strike in neighbouring North Waziristan last month in which two of their commanders were killed.Naurang is a business and trade hub of the Lakki Marwat district and is situated near the frontier tribal areas of Lakki and Bannu. It is believed that militants infiltrated to the area from frontier tribal regions bordering North Waziristan Agency.Sources said that up to 30 militants attacked the camp at 3:30am from different directions simultaneously. “The exact number of attackers is not known but it could be in between 25 and 30,” they said. A security official said 12 militants and 13 soldiers were killed in the clash that continued for four hours. Two bodies had suicide bomb belts on them.“A suicide bomber entered a nearby house and blew himself up. Four children, three women and four men were killed there,” Nisar Ahmed, a senior government official said. “The explosion damaged four (adjacent) houses as well. Civilians who were killed in the attack were residents of these houses,” he added. Some reports, however, suggested that rockets were fired by militants at these houses.“The militants were heavily equipped with sophisticated and automatic weapons and some of them were wearing explosive jackets. They kept engaged the security personnel for several hours,” the sources said. Nine army soldiers and three FC personnel also laid down their lives while bravely fighting the militants. Later reports said the troops death toll soared to 15.Security forces killed 12 militants while rest of them fled the scene, the sources said. But a TTP spokesman claimed they had “sent only four suicide bombers to attack this checkpost”. “Pakistan has been co-operating with the US in its drone strikes that killed our two senior commanders, Faisal Khan and Toofani, and the attack on military camp was the revenge of their killing,” Ehsanullah Ehsan told journalists over phone.“The bodies of civilians were shifted to civil hospital of Naurang and were later handed over to the relatives for burial,” a district administration official said. The explosive vests removed from the bodies of two killed militants were later defused by experts. Police and security forces closed Naurang-Bannu road after the attack and launched a search operation in the entire area. The police authorities also beefed up overall security in the district.Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants are accused of plotting attacks from the tribal belt on Pakistani, Afghan and Western targets. The military and pro-government militias have since 2009 regained territory from the Taliban, who once controlled land a few hours’ drive from the capital of Islamabad.But Taliban and other militants have in recent months increased their attacks on targets associated with the Pakistan army and country’s air force bases. They attacked Peshawar airport in December last year forcing security personnel to fight for two days to clear the area. Government says more than 35,000 people have been killed as a result of terrorism in the country since the 9/11 attacks on the United States. militants killed, 3 soldiers injured in Orakzai Eight militants were killed and three security forces personnel were injured in separate incidents in restive Orakzai agency on Saturday. Local sources said that the first incident occurred in Dabori area of the agency when security forces convoy was targeted with remote control device, injuring two security personnel,CaptainHassanat Ali and NaibeSobedarArifullah. They were shifted to the CMH for treatment.Separately, security forces killed eight militantsin a raid,destroyed their two hideouts and a vehicle.In another incident, militants opened fire on a security forces vehicle in Jinah Talab area in which a soldier, Mahbook Khan, got injured.Security forces are carrying out a military operation in Orakzai agency for four years and claimed clearing ninety percent area of militants but the incident of terrorism are frequent in the agency. 

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 03-Feb-2013 here.