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Pakistani Forces Clash With Militants In Tribal Belt

Pakistan's army says it has conducted a ground and aerial assault against militants in the country's lawless tribal belt, killing at least 34 militants.

At least four Pakistani soldiers were killed in the February 27 ground operation in North Waziristan tribal district, a stronghold of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants.

The attacks come days after Pakistan's powerful military chief General Raheel Sharif ordered his troops to begin the last phase of an operation targeting militants in the area, which is on the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistani air strikes killed at least 15 suspected militants in the Datta Khail region of North Waziristan.

The military issued a statement saying its ground forces also killed 19 militants in the tribal district.

The army started the operation in North Waziristan in June 2014. So far, it says more than 3,500 militants have been killed.

The conflict zone is off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to verify the army's claims, including the number and identity of those killed.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa

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