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Clashes Erupt Between Militants, Soldiers in Northern Pakistan

At least 35 militants and two Pakistani soldiers have been killed in heavy fighting in Pakistan's North Waziristan region.

Army spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad says the rebel fighters died in a series of clashes that began Sunday after militants attacked military checkpoints in the town of Mir Ali. Fighting continued Monday.

Pro-Taleban militants in North Waziristan have pulled out of peace deal with the Pakistani government designed to drive out foreign extremists. A U.S. intelligence report released last week said al- Qaida terrorists have been given safe haven in the remote tribal region along the Afghan border.

U.S. officials have not ruled out military strikes in Pakistan to combat terrorist cells. The Pakistani government has balked at the idea, saying U.S. operations in Pakistan would be unacceptable, irresponsible and dangerous.

Militants have stepped up attacks in Pakistan over the last two weeks, killing around 200 people in a series of suicide bombings since the government raided a radical Islamic mosque in Islamabad.

In the latest violence, a roadside bomb wounded at least five paramilitary soldiers on patrol in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region.