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Clashes in Pakistan Leave Two Soldiers, 15 Militants Dead

Pakistani security officials say fighting in the volatile northwest Tuesday morning has killed at least two soldiers and 15 Islamist militants.

They say suspected Islamist militants launched a surprise attack against a security outpost in the Orakzai tribal agency but the raid was beaten back. The fighting seriously wounded several soldiers.

Orakzai is one of Pakistan's seven semi-autonomous tribal regions near the Afghan border. The Pakistani Taliban and foreign militants linked to al-Qaida are active in the area.

Tuesday's attack came as Pakistani troops have been engaged in a counter-militancy offensive in nearby North Waziristan tribal agency since June. The recent spike in militant attacks against security forces is being attributed to the army operations.

Meanwhile, a bomb blast in the southwestern city of Quetta on Tuesday killed at least one person and wounded 20 others, including some policemen.

Provincial authorities say that a judge of an anti-terrorism court appeared to be the target of the bombing. The judge escaped unhurt but his two guards have been wounded. Police say that a car filed with up to 40 kilograms of explosives was parked on the roadside and a remote-controlled device was used to detonate the bomb. Several vehicles were also badly damaged.