Six soldiers were killed and two more injured when militants ambushed an army patrol on the outskirts of Peshawar in North-west Pakistan, security sources said on Thursday.

The patrol was passing through the Mattani area on the outskirts of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital when it was attacked by a group of militants at 10 pm on Wednesday.

The sources claimed five militants were killed in the gun battle though this could not be independently confirmed.

Reports in the media said the patrol, consisting of three vehicles, was attacked with rocket propelled grenades.

They engaged the militants in an hour-long gun battle and later carried out a search operation. However, the militants escaped under the cover of darkness. Additional police and paramilitary forces were sent to the area.

This was the second such attack in the area over the past two months.

The area where the incident occurred is located a short distance from the restive Khyber tribal region and the Frontier Regions of Kohat and Peshawar.

The Mattani area has recently witnessed a spike in violent attacks, giving rise to fears that militants have sneaked back into the region despite several operations to flush them out.