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Muslim Clerics in Pakistan Say Suicide Bombings 'Un-Islamic'

A council of Muslim clerics in Pakistan has issued an edict declaring suicide bombings to be "un-Islamic."

The group, Muttahida Ulema Council, also called on the Pakistani government to end its offensive in the tribal region and instead negotiate with residents to end the militancy. The remarks were made Tuesday during a meeting of clerics in the eastern city of Lahore.

Militants have carried out a number of suicide attacks in Pakistan in recent weeks, including the bombing of an Islamabad hotel that killed at least 55 people. Pro-Taliban leaders have claimed the attacks are in retaliation for the military's offensive against militants in the tribal region, including Bajaur.

The military says it has killed at least 1,000 militants in Bajaur since August. In the latest fighting along the Afghan border, security officials say troops killed more than 40 militants in Bajaur and Swat Valley Monday.

The United Nations refugee agency says nearly 190,000 people have fled Bajaur since the offensive began.

The U.N. says the majority of residents are now living in the country's North West Frontier Province. Another 20,000 Pakistanis and Afghans have fled to Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan.

The agency says it relies on government estimates and was not able to independently verify the figures.

In other news, a Pakistani television station says it has received a video of a Polish engineer kidnapped recently by suspected Taliban militants. Dawn News says the engineer, Piotr Stanczak read a statement in English on the video.

Gunmen kidnapped the engineer in Pakistan's Punjab province on September 28 and killed three Pakistanis during the abduction.

Officials say the engineer worked for an oil company, Geofizyka Krakow. The Taliban's demands in exchange for his release have not been clear.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.