Militant clashes kill about 70 in Pakistan

August 12, 2009 5:14:49 AM PDT
Two intelligence officials and a militant commander say clashes between rival militant groups in northwestern Pakistan have killed about 70 fighters. The officials say the clashes broke out on Wednesday in Jandola between fighters loyal to Pakistan's Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, and those of Turkistan Bitani, a militant commander allied with the government. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

Bitani told the AP that a total of about 60 to 70 fighters had died, and that the clashes broke out when his group was attacked by Mehsud's group.

There was no way to independently confirm the death toll, as the fighting was taking place in a remote area that is off-limits to journalists.

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