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Pakistan Forces Kill 30 Militants in NW Tribal Region

In Oldham, Manchester, northwest England, Akila Naqqash, holds a picture of her five-year-old son, Sahil Saeed, who was kidnapped while visiting his grandmother in Jhelum, Pakistan, 4 Mar 2010

Pakistani officials say security forces have killed at least 30 militants after more than 100 insurgents attacked a security checkpoint in a tribal region near the Afghan border.

Officials say the militants killed one soldier and wounded four others during Thursday's clash in Mohmand region.

Mohmand is next to the Bajaur tribal region, where the Pakistani military says it recently completed an offensive against Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.

The United States has supported Pakistan's efforts to rid its border regions of militants who launch cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

In a separate development in Punjab province, officials say robbers kidnapped a five-year-old British boy after holding the family at gunpoint.

Police said the kidnappers first stole money and jewelry before taking the boy and demanding a $150,000 ransom late Wednesday in Jhelum city.

The family was scheduled to return to Britain Thursday.

British officials are keeping in touch with the family and say local authorities are investigating.

Kidnappings have risen in Pakistan in recent years as Pakistanis face a depleted economy and eroded security due to battles with Islamist militants. Criminals are believed to carry out the majority of kidnappings, although Taliban fighters and other militants also demand ransoms for hostages.

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