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Pakistani Villagers Kill 9 Taliban After Mosque Blast


Officials in northwest Pakistan say more than 1,000 villagers are attacking suspected Taliban militants in the Upper Dir district, in a third day of violence aimed at avenging Friday's deadly suicide bombing at a local mosque.

Local officials said Monday at least 1,200 villagers from the area have joined a citizens' militia, known as a "lashkar," which has killed at least nine militants and has set fire to 20 homes of Taliban fighters.

Officials say militia members have pushed the Taliban out of at least three villages and are surrounding two other villages known as Taliban strongholds.

The region is near the Swat valley, where the Pakistani military has been battling Taliban fighters for more than a month.

On Friday, a lone suicide bomber struck a mosque in a remote village in Upper Dir district, killing at least 38 people. No one claimed responsibility for the blast, but some local officials suspected militants were taking revenge for the military's offensive.

Pakistan says more than 1,300 militants and about 100 soldiers have been killed during the offensive in the past several weeks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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