Friday April 18, 2014


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Bomb blast in northwest Pakistan kills 16; suspected drone attack hits militant compound

PARACHINAR, Pakistan - A bomb exploded near a marketplace in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing 16 people, and suspected U.S. missiles hit a militant compound the latest incidents of rising violence in the region, government and intelligence officials said.

Six militants were killed when two missiles suspected of being fired from U.S. drones hit a compound in Bobar Ghar belonging to the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban, according to two intelligence officials. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the identities of the militants killed were not yet known.

The bomb blast occurred in Kalaya, the main town in the Orakzai tribal area, said local government administrator Khaistan Akbar. Orakzai is one of several areas in the semiautonomous tribal region along the Afghan border where the military has been battling a domestic Taliban insurgency.

The blast occurred near government and security offices, according to another local administrator, Javed Khan. It damaged one of the shops in the market.

Initially, the death toll stood at 10 with 23 people wounded. But Khan said that six of those who were wounded later died at a hospital in Kalaya, increasing the death toll to 16. The 17 others who were wounded were being treated, including three who were in critical condition.

No group claimed responsibility for the latest bombing, but Taliban militants regularly target security forces and civilians in the area.

The military has launched multiple operations against the Pakistani Taliban in the northwest since 2009, but the militants have proved resilient and continue to carry out attacks.

Also on Friday, unknown attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades at a paramilitary convoy in southwestern Baluchistan province, killing one soldier and sounding five others, said police official Babil Dashti. Two vehicles were damaged in the attack in Turbat district, he said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Baluch nationalists have waged a decades-long insurgency against the government for greater autonomy and a larger share of the province's natural resources. The province is also home to many radical Islamist militants.

____

Associated Press writer Abdul Sattar in Quetta, Pakistan and Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan contributed to this report.


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