Pakistan army kills up to 40 militants in troubled northwest

Pakistani troops backed by helicopter gunships and artillery attacked pro-Taliban militants in troubled northern Pakistan, killing up to 40 followers of a rebel cleric, the military and officials said Saturday. The men were killed Thursday in Kuza Banda, Basham and Shangla, three of the militants' strongholds in Swat district, the army said in a statement. In a separate incident, two soldiers were wounded when their convoy was attacked by hand grenades, the army said. The latest deaths bring militant casualties in the past several days to 100 in Swat, where troops are battling supporters from Maulana Fazlullah, a cleric who has asked his men to wage holy war against the army.