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Militant groups clash in NW Pakistan, 24 killed

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RIAZ KHAN | January 26, 2013 02:27 AM EST | AP

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A Pakistani official says clashes between two Islamic militant groups over control of a prized valley near the Afghan border have killed 24 people.

Arshad Khan of the Khyber tribal region said Saturday that the clashes started Friday when the main militant group Tehrik-e-Taliban captured a base of another militant group, Ansarul Islam, in the Tirah valley. Ansarul Islam then tried to retake the base, with fighting continuing into the next day.

A military officer speaking on condition of anonymity said most of the dead were militants but some local tribesmen were also killed.

The remote and mountainous valley is valued by militant groups as a base. It's difficult for the Pakistani military to enter and allows militants easy access to Afghanistan and other tribal agencies.