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Four Pakistani soldiers, 12 militants die in clash: officials

At least four soldiers and 12 militants were killed in a clash on Sunday in Pakistan's troubled tribal belt where the army is fighting a major offensive against Taliban insurgents.

Pakistan's military said the incident took place in the Ghaziza area of Datta Khel town, some 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal district which borders Afghanistan.

"Fleeing terrorists also left behind three of their dead bodies. Four soldiers also embraced Shahadat (martyrdom) in the exchange of fire," it said in a statement.

A security official in the area confirmed the incident and casualties.

The conflict zone is remote and off-limits to journalists making it difficult to verify the army's claims, including the number and identity of those killed.

Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency for over a decade following the late 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

The Pakistan army began a major campaign against Taliban and other militant strongholds in the North Waziristan tribal area in June last year and authorities have now vowed to intensify operations both in the border regions and across the country.

The military says more than 2,700 militants have been killed since the launch of the major offensive.