By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Four suspected militants and an army troop were killed in a clash in Pakistan's restive North Waziristan region on Sunday, the country's military said.
The clash -- latest in a slew of gun battles -- occurred during a security operation in the Spinwam area of North Waziristan, which sits near the Afghanistan border, according to a statement from the Pakistani army.
"As soon as troops cordoned the area, terrorists opened fire to flee from the area. However, all terrorists were killed by security forces. During intense exchange of fire, a Sepoy, 27 embraced shahadat (martyrdom), while two soldiers got injured," the statement read.
There was no word on the association of the suspected terrorists, though the UN-designated terror group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a conglomerate of different militant groups in Pakistan, has long been operating in the region.
North Waziristan -- once dubbed the heartland of militancy -- is one of seven former semi-autonomous tribal regions in Pakistan where the army has conducted a series of operations since 2014 to eliminate the TTP.
Successive operations have pushed the TTP towards neighboring Afghanistan, and Islamabad claims the terrorist network has now set up bases across the border to attack Pakistani security forces.
The military operations also displaced over 1 million people, but most of them have returned to their homes.
In 2018, the tribal agencies were given the status of districts and merged with the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.