Army Continues Assault on TNSM & Fazlullah

The Pakistan army continues the assault on Fazlullah’s followers who are allied to Al Qaeda and the Lal Masjid clerics in North Waziristan. The Mullah is in hiding, and the article does not mention if he’s still broadcasting from his illegal FM radio stations. This comes after a suicide attack on the 2500 troops near Swat, and four beheadings of Frontier Corps troops. Details at the Independent:

Pakistani troops and helicopter gunships attacked the village stronghold of a militant cleric yesterday, a day after a deadly suicide bombing, while militants retaliated by beheading four security personnel in an intensifying conflict in the northwest.

Militants kidnapped and beheaded three paramilitary soldiers and a police officer, and displayed their severed heads in a village near the resort town of Swat, said Badshah Gul Wazir, the Home Secretary of the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan.

“I know they were four, and they have been beheaded,” he told a news conference in Peshawar, the provincial capital.

Media reports had said that militants had abducted a total of eight security officials, but Wazir would not confirm the total number of kidnapped personnel.

Wazir’s comments came hours after the two sides traded fire across the rushing Swat River, using rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and other weapons, after security forces attacked the redoubt of the cleric Maulana Fazlullah, who runs a sprawling seminary in the village of Imam Dheri.

Two civilians were killed when stray bullets hit them near the river, while one of the militants also died in the gunbattle, said Mohammed Khan, a police official in Swat.

Previous update here.

In the background of this Benazir Bhutto is visiting her father’s tomb at her home near Larkana.