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23 soldiers killed in convoy ambush

At least 23 soldiers have been killed in Tajikistan after a convoy was attacked by Islamic militants, a military spokesman has said.

The attack on Sunday comes amid rising tension following a string of terrorist blasts and a large-scale prison escapes by Islamist insurgents and government opponents.

A Defence Ministry spokesman said the military convoy was heading for eastern Rasht district - an area near the border with Afghanistan - when it was ambushed in a valley.

The spokesman said the gunmen included citizens from Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well fighters from the volatile southern Russian region of Chechnya.

No details were immediately available whether any of the gunmen were killed or captured.

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