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Pakistani Army Says Up to 30 Militants Killed in Northwest


Pakistani military officials say troops have killed up to 30 militants during an operation in the country's northwest tribal region.

The militants and two Pakistani soldiers were killed Friday in the town of Dara Adam Khel, near the city of Peshawar, in the Northwest Frontier Province.

Troops targeted several militant hideouts with helicopter gunships, as they searched for four trucks of ammunition and military supplies seized by suspected militants.

Military officials say members of the Frontier Corps -- a paramilitary force that patrols the tribal region -- also cleared strategic heights in the area.

Further south, Pakistani troops continued to battle militants in the tribal region of South Waziristan. More than 150 militants and at least 20 soldiers have been killed during weeks of clashes with fighters loyal to militant leader Baitullah Mehsud.

The U.S. and Pakistani governments accuse Mehsud of plotting the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Friday's clashes come a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. was willing to send combat troops to Pakistan to help fight the insurgency, if the Pakistani government gave its approval.

Pakistani leaders have said they are opposed to any such U.S. deployment.

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