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Gunfight With Militants Kills 4 Pakistani Troops Near Afghan Border 

FILE - A Pakistani army soldier stands guard at a market in Miran Shah, a town in North Waziristan, near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Jan. 27, 2019.

Pakistan said Sunday a counterterrorism raid in a former militant stronghold near the Afghan border has killed four soldiers and four “terrorists."

The deadly shootout took place near Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan district, said the army’s media wing.

It added that intelligence information led security forces to a "terrorists’ hideout”, about 8 kilometers southwest of Miranshah.

“As soon as the troops cordoned off the area, terrorists opened fire. All dug out terrorists were shot down by security forces,” it said.

Until a few years back, North Waziristan was a hub of local and foreign militant groups blamed for terrorist attacks in Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan.

The army maintains sustained counter-militancy operations have cleared most of the border region, killing thousands of militants and pushing others into volatile Afghan border provinces.

However, the Pakistani district has seen an uptick in militant attacks in recent months, in which dozens of troops have been killed or injured, prompting fears militants are attempting to return to their former sanctuary.

Army officials insist the recent violence stems from ongoing intelligence-based carefully planned security operations against “remaining pockets” and “sleeper cells” in the area to avoid collateral damage.