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Pakistan Says 5 Soldiers, 21 Suspected Militants Killed In Clashes

Pakistan's military says five soldiers and at least 21 suspected militants have been killed in clashes in Pakistan's northwest, in a region near the Afghan border.

The gun battle is reported to have occurred early today after militants attacked a security checkpoint in the Orakzai region.

This is the same region where officials reported the deaths of 61 militants on March 25 after air strikes that targeted a religious seminary, a mosque, and a school.

Orakzai is considered a major base for Hakimullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban's top commander, who was reported to have died in a U.S. missile strike in January.

Militants have been under pressure in the northwest amid an army offensive that is reported to have driven many out of their South Waziristan stronghold.

compiled from agency reports