Seven civilians killed in clashes in Pakistan's Swat valley

Seven civilians were killed Thursday in fresh clashes between government forces and Taliban fighters in Pakistan's troubled Swat valley, media reports said.

One mortar round missed its target in the Deolai area of Swat and hit a house, killing seven members of the same family, including five children. The house was completely demolished, the Urdu-language Geo news channel said in a report.

It was not clear who had fired the mortar round.

However, an army spokesman in Swat valley denied the incident. "There has been complete peace today and we have no information of any damage," Major Farooq Virk told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Violence has resurged in recent weeks in the valley, located about 300 kilometres north-west of Islamabad, after militants resumed attacks on security officials despite a two-month peace agreement.

Fresh clashes came a day after dozens of militants targeted government troops in the Ucharai Sar area. The attack was repulsed but five soldiers and 25 militants died in the battle that continued for several hours.

Some 200 rebels on Tuesday seized up to 30 police and paramilitary troops manning a security check post in the town of Kabal.

The military launched a crackdown on the supporters of a radical cleric, Maulana Fazlulla, in November after he began a campaign to impose Taliban rule in Swat.

The operation continued until March when the new government initiated peace talks with the guerrillas, and reached fragile ceasefire with them in May.

But the militants kept carrying out sporadic attacks on security forces while accusing the authorities for violating the accord.

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