UPDATE - 28 security personnel , 27 suspected militants killed in Pakistan

UPDATE - 28 security personnel , 27 suspected militants killed in Pakistan

Attack, operation against militants take place in northwestern part of South Asian nation

UPDATES WITH DETAILS; CHANGES HEAD, LEDE

By Aamir Latif and Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD / KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - At least 28 security personnel and 27 suspected militants were killed on Tuesday in three separate incidents in northwestern Pakistan, including a shooting and bomb attack, officials said.

The incidents took place in different parts of Dera Ismail Khan district of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders neighboring Afghanistan.

In a statement, the military said a group of six terrorists attempted to storm a post of the security forces in the vicinity of Daraban, adding that all six were killed.

After the armed assault was thwarted, the attackers rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the post, followed by a suicide bombing.

"The resulting blasts led to the collapse of the building, causing multiple causalities; twenty three brave soldiers embraced shahadat, while all six terrorists were effectively engaged and sent to hell," said Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media-wing of Pakistan army.

Tehreek-e-jihad Pakistan, a branch the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to the military, 17 other suspected terrorists were killed in an intelligence-based operation conducted in the Darazinda area.

Earlier, a police officer in the area told Anadolu that at least three policemen were killed and 16 other injured in the suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed vehicle on the main gate of Daraban police station.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last month, at least five people including a policeman were killed in an explosion targeting a police vehicle in the main market of the district.

Attacks have increased in recent months against Pakistani security forces, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southwestern Balochistan provinces, which border Afghanistan.

Islamabad accuses Afghanistan-based militants loyal to outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan of carrying out attacks, claiming the interim Taliban administration has turned a blind eye. Kabul, however, denies the charge.

In turn, Pakistan launched a crackdown on illegal immigrants, forcing over 450,000 Afghan refugees to leave the country over the past few weeks.

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