Militants ambush officials in Pakistani tribal area
MIR ALI, Pakistan - Militants ambushed the vehicles of the top officials in a Pakistani tribal zone where fierce battles raged at the weekend, killing a guard and injuring two others, officials said on Wednesday. The administrator of volatile North Waziristan district, Zaheer Islam, and his deputy Fida Mohammad Khan escaped unhurt in the attack late Tuesday in Norak village near the town of Mir Ali, a security official told AFP.

Insurgents launched rockets and fired bullets at their vehicles as the officials were heading to the northwestern city of Peshawar to attend a meeting with tribal elders at the governor’s residence, he said. “One of the security guards was killed and two others were injured in the attack,” he said.

The region has been gripped by violent clashes between pro-Taliban militants and security forces since the weekend, in which about 140 rebels and five soldiers died. Authorities have imposed a curfew on Miranshah, the main town in the region, and troops are searching for two pro-Taliban clerics accused of instigating the fighting, the worst in the tribal belt near the Afghan border since 2001. Thousands of residents have fled Miranshah for the relative safety of Mir Ali.
Posted by: Steve 2006-03-08