KHAR, Pakistan — Several hundred militants crossed the border from Afghanistan on Thursday and stormed a village in Pakistan's lawless tribal district, killing five civilians, Pakistani officials said.
Afghan officials denied any cross-border attack and accused Pakistani troops of killing six people in a rocket strike on Wednesday.
It was the third attack reportedly carried out by hundreds of fighters into northwest Pakistan this month. The border is porous and tensions between Afghans and Pakistanis are high over Islamist militants in both countries.
Eight civilians were reported wounded after Pakistani officials said the militants targeted a village in Bajaur, where troops have carried out a series of offensives against Taliban and other Islamist insurgents since August 2008.
"Some 250-300 militants targeted civilians in Mamoond. At least five civilians, including two women, were killed," local government official Fazle Akbar told AFP.
"At least nine militants were also killed and eight civilians, including three women and three children, were injured in the attack", Muhammad Ilyas Khan, a government official in Mamoond and security officials said.
Khan said the insurgents left behind nine bodies after the attack, about 65 kilometres (40 miles) northwest of Khar, the main town in Bajaur.
"About 300 militants came from Afghanistan and attacked villagers," Khan said. "Tribesmen from the local lashkar (militia) have joined paramilitary forces and army artillery is pounding shells."
The militants eventually fled and the firing stopped around 1.00 pm (0800 GMT), local government and security officials said.
Bajaur borders the Afghan province of Kunar, where police chief Mohammad Ewaz Nazir told AFP that Pakistani troops had been shelling the Shigal district of the province for a month.
"Four children and two men were killed in one of their rocket attacks on the Chugam area of Shigal district yesterday."
"There hasn't been any attack from Afghan soil on Pakistani territory today or yesterday," he added.
But Pakistani officials rubbished the Afghan denial.
"We cannot say why Afghans are denying the attack, but we are certain that the militants came from across the border," a Pakistani security official said.
Pakistan's military has repeatedly claimed to have eliminated the militant threat in Bajaur, one of seven districts in the country's semi-autonomous tribal belt that the United States sees as the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.
On June 1 and June 3, hundreds of militants besieged an area in Pakistan's northwestern district of Upper Dir on the Afghan border, sparking prolonged fighting that killed at least 34 people.
At the time, Pakistan conveyed "strong concern" to the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad, calling for "stern action" by Afghan and US-led NATO troops to crack down on militants in eastern Afghanistan.
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