Militants attack Pakistan's army post, 23 killed

Pakistan

Militants attacked an army post in northwestern Pakistan with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and suicide vests before dawn on Saturday, killing 23 people including 10 civilians, officials said. Twelve attackers were also killed in the assault.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks. The group has been waging a bloody insurgency against the government for years and has also targeted country's minority

The raid on the army post in Serai Naurang town of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province began around 3:45 a.m. and lasted for several hours, said senior police Arif Khan Wazir. The militants were armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, he said.

Nine soldiers and four members of the Frontier Constabulary, died during the battle, security officials said. They said 12 attackers were also killed. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

They say militants killed 10 civilians in a nearby house, including three women and three children.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to The Associated Press from an undisclosed location. He said four suicide bombers were involved in the attack, three of them were killed and the fourth was still resisting

Ahsan said the attack was retaliation for the recent deaths of two Taliban commanders in U.S. drone strikes. He accused the Pakistani army of helping the attacks. Pakistani officials often criticize drone operations as a violation of the country's sovereignty, but are known to have assisted some U.S. strikes in the past.

A police official,who didn't wish to be name said he saw the bodies of three attackers with their suicide vests intact. Their features suggested they belonged to a group of Uzbek militants allied with the Taliban,

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