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2 Dead in Gunbattle Near General's Home in Pakistan


Suspected militants have opened fire near the home of an army general in Pakistan's northwest, sparking a gunbattle that killed two of the attackers.

Police say the attack took place late Thursday in the city of Peshawar, not far from the residence of the region's top military commander and a luxury hotel where nine people were killed in a suicide bombing on Tuesday.

Hours earlier, a suicide bomber killed at least two people and wounded 13 others near a checkpoint in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province.

Pakistan has been hit by a series of attacks that some officials suspect are revenge for a government offensive against militants in the northwestern region of Swat Valley.

Earlier on Thursday, Pakistani security forces targeted militant strongholds throughout the northwest and said they killed 66 Taliban fighters in a 24-hour period.

The military said the fighting took place in various areas of Malakand and Bannu as well as South Waziristan - the stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Security forces have been battling Taliban fighters in the Swat Valley since the end of April, after militants violated a peace deal and advanced to within 100 kilometers of the capital, Islamabad.

Also Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved President Barack Obama's request that would triple non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year over the next five years.

The House also authorized an additional $700 million to help Pakistani security forces to fight Islamic extremists.

United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon on Thursday appealed for more international humanitarian aid for the nearly three-million civilians displaced by Pakistan's military offensive in the northwest.

Mr. Ban said the U.N. has received roughly a quarter of its $543 million appeal and warned Pakistan was at risk of a "spiraling secondary crisis."


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

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