Pakistani gunfire prevents suspected US incursion

September 22nd, 2008 - 4:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Sep 22 (DPA) Pakistani security forces and tribesmen repelled a suspected US attack by shooting at intruding helicopter gunships in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan, officials said Monday.The incident occurred late Sunday night in Lowara Mandi village of the North Waziristan tribal district that is believed to be haven of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants.

“Two gunships flew at least a kilometre into Pakistani territory but hails of machine-gun fire by troops and the villagers forced the intruders to turn back,” a security official said while insisting on anonymity.

The US choppers did not return fire and flew back to Afghanistan, he added.

The military officially denied the clash. “Our troops stationed in the area have not reported any violation of Pakistani airspace by US helicopters,” said army spokesman Major Murad Khan.

Tensions between Washington and Islamabad came to a boil earlier this month when US troops carried out their first ground attack inside Pakistan and killed at least 20 people, mostly women and children.

The ground raid enraged the Pakistan government that was already angered at the recent spike in the US missile strikes launched by drones operated from Afghanistan.

Top US officials believe that they are not winning the war of terror in Afghanistan because of increasing number of attacks of the coalition troops by militants crossing from Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Pakistan says prevention of cross-border infiltration was not solely its responsibility, but insists that no foreign troops will be allowed to operate in its territory.

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