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23 Dead In Clash Of Muslim Factions In Pakistan

(RFE/RL) March 28, 2006 -- At least 23 people have been killed in clashes between factions led by rival Muslim clerics in a tribal region of northwestern Pakistan.

Local officials say tribesmen fought pitched street battles with automatic weapons from late on March 27 until early today near the town of Bara in the Khyber Agency region.

The battles were reportedly sparked by a row over the demolition of a house in the rugged, largely lawless region bordering Afghanistan. The area is frequently the scene of violence.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, the largest city in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, temporarily shut down today after receiving a telephone threat.

On March 2, a suicide car bomber killed a U.S. diplomat and two others outside the U.S. Consulate in the southern city of Karachi, on the eve of U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to Pakistan.

(AFP, Reuters)