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Pakistani Taliban Attacks Air Force Base Near Peshawar


Pakistani soldiers arrive to take position outside the Pakistan Air Force base after an attack by militants near Peshawar on September 18.

In the deadliest attack on a Pakistani military installation this year, Taliban militants killed at least 19 people after storming an air force base in near the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Pakistani military spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa said militants killed 16 worshippers in a mosque while they were offering morning prayers on September 18. A captain died during the military's counter-attack against the militants.

Pakistani television channels later reported that two air force technicians were also killed while fighting the raiders.

Bajwa wrote on Twitter that 13 attackers had been killed and 10 soldiers wounded in the attack that unfolded in the early morning hours.

A rescue officer said they transported at least 20 wounded to hospitals.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed it was responsible for the attack at the Badaber base. "We proudly claim responsibility for the attack on the Pakistani air base," Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khorasani told Reuters. “This base is being used by fighter jets for bombing us."

It was unclear how many militants were involved and whether any got away.

Pakistan's army chief, General Raheel Sharif, rushed to Peshawar to meet with the security forces taking part in the operation.

Shortly after the attack, a suspected U.S. drone strike hit a house in the South Waziristan tribal region, killing at least three militants and wounding five, according to two unnamed Pakistani security officials.

But locals in the region told a Radio Mashaal correspondent that it was an air strike and it killed eight civilians.

The Pakistani Army has been carrying out a major offensive against local and foreign militants in North Waziristan, a northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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