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Pakistan Kills Up To 30 Militants In Air Strike

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) -- Pakistan killed up to 30 Islamist militants in an air strike and three soldiers and a civilian were killed in a suicide attack in the northwest near the Afghan border, officials have said.

The air raid on a militant hideout in the Mohmand tribal region came hours after a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into a military convoy in the nearby town of Shabqadar.

"We have reports that 25 to 30 militants were killed and many wounded in the air strike," a military official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Mohmand lies close to Bajaur, another tribal region, where security forces have launched a massive operation against the militants since August. The military says more than 1,500 militants have been killed in the Bajaur operation. There has been no independent verification of that casualty estimate.

Abdul Qadeer, a shopkeeper in Shabqadar, said troops had opened fire after the suicide blast but caused no casualties.

"After the attack, the vehicle caught fire and we have reports of three security people and a civilian killed," said a police official who declined to be identified.

The attack in Shabqadar came two days after a suicide car bomber killed eight people in an attack aimed at a military checkpoint in the Swat Valley, to the northwest of Islamabad.