Pakistani troops killed nine militants in fresh clashes in the tribal region of Bajaur, a Taliban and Al-Qaeda hub on the troubled Afghan border, officials said Monday. Around 50 rebels stormed a military checkpost late Sunday in Rashakai, 10 kilometres (six miles) north of the region's main town of Khar, sparking an hour-long gun battle, a security official said.Troops in the post returned fire while soldiers from the military headquarters in Khar fired artillery and mortar shells at insurgent positions, killing five militants, a senior security official said. Later Sunday a group of around 40 militants raided a checkpost at Tang Khata, an abandoned village where the military took foreign journalists on a media trip last week, another official said. Security forces retaliated and killed at least four militants, the official said, adding that two soldiers were wounded in the clash that ended around dawn on Monday. Helicopters were seen circling the region and artillery fire was heard in several towns on Monday but there was no immediate report of new casualties, residents and officials said.The Pak military launched a major offensive in early August against Islamic extremist fighters in Bajaur and have won the support of militias comprising local tribesmen. The army says more than 1,000 extremists have been killed in the six-week operation, including Al-Qaeda's operational commander in Bajaur, Egyptian Abu Saeed Al-Masri.