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Pakistani Troops Kill 80 Militants in Attack on Compound Near Afghan Border

Senior Pakistani officials say government troops have destroyed a training facility believed linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network, killing around 80 suspected militants.

Military spokesman Shaukat Sultan says helicopter gunships attacked a madrassa, or religious school Monday that militants had been using as a training facility near the Afghan border.

Around 80 militant fighters are thought to have been based at the training camp near Khar village, the main town in the Bajur tribal region.

The same Pakistani border area is close to a village attacked earlier this year by U.S. forces based in Afghanistan. That airstrike in January was aimed at killing al-Qaida's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, but he was not present at the time.

Monday's assault by Pakistani forces follows a rally in the same area on Saturday by thousands of militants shouting anti-American slogans.

Taleban fighters have stepped up their insurgency against NATO-led troops in southern Afghanistan in recent months, frequently slipping over the border from bases in northwestern Pakistan. The increased fighting has strained relations between authorities in Kabul and Islamabad.

Afghan officials say Taleban leaders frequently find shelter in Pakistan. Islamabad denies those accusations, saying it has deployed 80,000 troops in the rugged border region to hunt down Taleban and al-Qaida fugitives.

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