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Pakistani Troops Launch First Ground Assault in Swat Valley

  • VOA News

Pakistan's military says government troops have launched a ground offensive in the northern Swat valley, killing at least 30 pro-Taliban militants.

The Army said it is the first time ground troops have been used in the area, a former popular tourist destination.

On Saturday, officials said they had begun stopping all food shipments into the region, where recent clashes have killed more than 250 people.

Unrest erupted in the Swat Valley last month when pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazlullah declared a holy war against the government.

Also on Saturday, officials said at least 20 people were killed in two suicide bombings targeting Pakistan's military in Rawalpindi.

The first bomb struck a bus on the main road between Rawalpindi and the capital, Islamabad. Police say the bomber rammed a car filled with explosives into the bus carrying employees of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.

An Army spokesman said the second attack occurred when a car bomber detonated explosives after he was stopped for an identity check outside army headquarters in Rawalpindi. Arshad says the bomber was killed, and two people were injured in that blast.

Officials suspect the attacks are linked to the military operations against pro-Taliban militants in the country's troubled Northwest.
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