10 Killed In Pakistan Gun Battle

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Islamabad: A fierce gun battle killed at least eight separatists and two paramilitary soldiers during an ongoing anti-terrorist operation in southwest Pakistan on Wednesday, officials said.

The incident occurred in southwestern Balochistan province, which borders Iran and Afghanistan. The deaths come as a roadside bomb attack in a restive northwestern Pakistani region near the Afghan border claimed three lives, including those of two children, officials said.

The firefight in Balochistan province erupted during a raid, the military said. “The security forces raided a compound as part of the ongoing operation which triggered a gunfight between the paramilitary Frontier Corps troops and the terrorists, killing eight rebels and two soldiers,” spokesman Muhammad Manzoor told.

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He said three militants were killed in a similar raid on Tuesday. A paramilitary lieutenant colonel and a solider were also injured. Manzoor said those killed on Wednesday belonged to different proscribed Baloch separatist organisations but did not disclose their names.

Resource-rich Balochistan is the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.

Rebels began their fifth insurgency against the state in 2004, with hundreds of soldiers and militants killed in the fighting. The province is also riven by sectarian strife and Islamist violence.