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61 dead in Pakistani militant clashes

Jan. 27, 2013 at 10:21 AM

TIRAH, Pakistan, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Sixty-one people have died in clashes between two outlawed groups of militants in Pakistan's Tirah valley, sources told Geo News.

The fighting between Ansarul Islam and Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) began Friday and was ongoing through Sunday. The conflict was started when TTP members captured an Ansarul Islam base and the second group retaliated.

Ansarul Islam said it would not let TTP make hideouts in the valley, which it deems under its control. The group said it does not support TTP terror activities in Pakistan.

Tirah valley is a mountainous terrain, making it difficult for Pakistani military to enter. It is highly valued by militant groups, which can use it as a base of operations, while allowing easy access to Afghanistan and tribal Pakistan, Geo News reported.

Most of the dead were militants, though sources said some local tribesmen died in the fighting as well.

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