DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan -- Pakistani intelligence officials say five army soldiers and 12 Taliban militants have been killed in clashes in the country's northwest.

The officials say the fighting took place Saturday near Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan tribal area, a Pakistani Taliban stronghold. Four soldiers were wounded.

The army operation targeted Taliban fighters who on Friday dumped in the area the decapitated bodies of two paramilitary soldiers who had been abducted a few days earlier.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The army carried out a large ground offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan in 2009, but the fighting has continued.