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Pakistani Soldiers Kill 46 Militants in Clashes in North Waziristan

Pakistani para-military soldiers have clashed with Islamic militants in tribal North Waziristan, killing more than 46 rebels. Three soldiers were also killed.

Pakistani officials said Saturday 21 militants died in the town of Mir Ali, while another 25 were killed in the region's main town, Miran Shah.

The fighting began earlier this week in Miran Shah, where more than 40 rebels were killed in an army raid.

A military spokesman (Shaukat Sultan) said militant leader Maulavi Abdul Khaleq had been planning to avenge the earlier raid for the past three days. Today (Saturday) the militants fired rockets at security positions in Miran Shah. The military responded with artillery fire and called in helicopter gunships for help.

Reports from the region say hundreds of terrified residents fled the town bordering Afghanistan before the fighting started.