BAJAUR Armed with sophisticated weapons, over 300 militants Thursday crossed into Pakistan and attacked villages in Bajaur Agency, killing five people, three women and two children, while eight others sustained injuries. In a pre-dawn attack, at about 4am the group of militants crossed over the Pak-Afghan border along the Kunar province of Afghanistan and attacked Pakistani villages Manu Jangal and Takha, adjacent to the border at tehsil Mamoond. Over 300 militants, who were armed with mortars, rockets and machine guns, targeted civilians. It has also been reported that the militants have detained and taken away some volunteers of local peace Lashkar formed against militants in Bajaur. Soon after the militants attack on the villages, personnel of law enforcement agencies backed by volunteers of local Lashkar retaliated with full forces. The militants went back into Afghanistan. It was believed that some of the attackers were also killed but the toll was not known. Sources said that after the happening, reinforcements have been dispatched to the area. Sources said exchange of fire between security forces and the militants continued till 1pm. In a similar incident on June 1, hundreds of militants attacked Barawal area in Upper Dir on the Afghan border, and reportedly a total of 80 people, 32 policemen and some locals, were killed in the standoff. Agencies add: Afghan officials deny any cross-border attack and instead accused Pakistani troops of killing six people in a rocket attack on Wednesday. It was the third such attack reportedly carried out by hundreds of fighters into northwest Pakistan this month. The border is porous and tensions between Afghans and Pakistanis are high. Muhammad Ilyas Khan, a government official in Mamoond, and security officials in the northwest confirmed the attack and casualties. About 300 militants came from Afghanistan and attacked villagers, Khan said by mid-day. Fighting is still going on. Tribesmen from the local lashkar (militia) have joined paramilitary forces and army artillery is pounding shells. Kunar police chief Mohammad Ewaz Nazir alleged that Pakistani troops had been shelling the Shigal district of the province for a month. There hasnt been any attack from Afghan soil on Pakistani territory today or yesterday, he added. But Pakistani officials rubbished the Afghan denial. We cannot say why Afghans are denying the attack, but we are certain that the militants came from across the border, a Pakistani security official said. Pakistan has conveyed strong concern to the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad, calling for stern action by Afghan and US-led NATO troops to crack down on militants in eastern Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban have been stepping up attacks against the state after warning they would avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces on May 2. Pakistani Taliban fighters who fled to Afghanistan in the face of army offensives have joined allies in Afghanistan to regroup and threaten Pakistans border regions again. Militants and villagers engaged in a firefight that lasted several hours, security officials and villagers said. We asked people to come out of their homes with their weapons and then we also starting firing on them, resident Ghulam Mohammad told Reuters. Villager Khan Zaman said: They crossed their checkposts and then came to our side of the border and attacked. The attack may have been prompted by the formation of an anti-Taliban militia raised by the tehsil of Mamoond. Pakistani authorities have been encouraging ethnic Pashtun tribesmen on the Afghan border to revive traditional militias known as lashkars to counter the threat from militants. In May, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, the top Pakistani Taliban commander in Bajaur, warned Mamoond's villagers about the expulsion of his fighters by a lashkar.