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Pakistan turns up heat on al Qaeda


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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani forces have been battling al Qaeda fighters in an ongoing operation to rout terrorists in a tribal area near the border with Afghanistan, Pakistani intelligence sources said.

Tuesday's fighting left two Pakistani soldiers dead and seven others wounded in South Waziristan, where a large number of al Qaeda fighters are believed to be holed up.

The sources said a heavy toll had been inflicted on the al Qaeda fighters, but it was not immediately known how many were killed.

Eight civilians were killed in the crossfire, the sources said.

The Pakistani army was using artillery and gunship helicopters to attack.

In the remote town of Shakai, sources said the Pakistani army recovered a large stash of weapons, CDs, computers and other material from a suspected al Qaeda hideout.

The sources said there were two separate attacks Tuesday on Pakistani forces.

In a second incident on Tuesday, two rockets were fired on an army camp, killing one soldier and wounding two others.

Fighting has intensified in the last week in the region. Pakistani officials say the fighting is part of a larger offensive against al Qaeda that was launched earlier this year.

U.S. authorities have said they believe Osama bin Laden is most likely hiding somewhere along the remote regions of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

-- CNN Producer Syed Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this report.


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