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Militant rocket attack kills Pakistani trooper

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MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, Mar 24: Islamist militants killed a Pakistani trooper and wounded two others in a rocket attack on their post in a troubled tribal region near the Afghan border today, officials said.

The attack occurred early in the morning near Datta Kheil village in North Waziristan, the scene of fierce battles between security forces and militants in recent weeks.

Around 200 tribesmen were killed in clashes with the army after answering a call to arms by militant Muslim clerics following an attack on an al Qaeda camp by security forces.

Syed Zaheer-ul-Islam, the top government administrator in North Waziristan, said security forces returned fire after the rocket attack on the post but there was no word on militant casualties.

A large number of al Qaeda militants and their allies fled to Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal regions after US-led forces ousted them from Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 attacks on Washington and New York.

President Pervez Musharraf, a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, yesterday warned foreign militants hiding in the tribal region to leave Pakistan or face annihilation.

The security forces have captured or killed hundreds of al Qaeda members over the past four years but Afghan officials often complain that Islamist militants, particularly Taliban fighters, use Pakistani soil to launch attacks inside Afghanistan.

Pakistan says it is doing all it can to stem cross-border movement of the militants and has urged Afghan forces to do more on their side of the long, porous border.

Reuters

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