Soldiers killed in clash with al-Qa'ida

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The Independent Online

Pakistani troops, acting on American intelligence, raided an al-Qa'ida hideout on the Afghan border, setting off a four-hour firefight in which 10 soldiers and two suspected terrorists were killed, officials said yesterday.

Pakistani troops, acting on American intelligence, raided an al-Qa'ida hideout on the Afghan border, setting off a four-hour firefight in which 10 soldiers and two suspected terrorists were killed, officials said yesterday.

A 15-year-old boy, said to be "foreign", was captured after the battle, which began on Tuesday near Wana, 200 miles west of Islamabad. But most of the fighters, believed to be Chechens, escaped. Army officers said between 40 and 45 al-Qa'ida fighters were still in the area, and helicopter patrols were trying to locate them.

The soldiers killed in the battle were believed to be the Pakistani army's first combat deaths during the "war against terrorism".

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