Pakistan fires at US helicopters on border

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The Independent Online

Pakistani troops fired on US helicopters which had crossed the border from Afghanistan yesterday, the Pakistani military said. In a conflicting account of the incident, the US military denied the aircraft had flown into Pakistani territory. There were no casualties nor were the helicopters damaged, Nato said.

The shooting took place amid rising tension between Pakistan and the United States – normally close allies in the US-led "war on terror" – after US troops launched missile attacks and a helicopter-borne ground assault into Pakistan this month. The Islamabad government condemned those raids and said it would not tolerate infringements of its territory.

Pakistan said its soldiers fired warning shots at the helicopters after they intruded into Pakistani airspace. A US military spokeswoman said two helicopters on a routine operation "received small arms fire" when they were seven miles inside Afghanistan.