ISLAMABAD: A suicide bomber attacked a military convoy in a former Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) stronghold in the tribal region along the Afghanistan border, killing four soldiers, the army said on Tuesday.
The incident took place in Mir Ali town of North Waziristan district, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement.
Police and intelligence officials told Reuters the bomber rammed a three-wheeler into the convoy late on Monday in the remote district, which has seen a rise in militant violence in recent weeks.
The region was once a hotbed of local and foreign militants but they have mostly been driven out by various military operations.
No one has claimed the responsibility for the bombing, which came a day after a senior TTP militant with a $3 million bounty on his head, Abdul Wali, also known as Omar Khalid Khurasani, was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan.
Khurasani’s Jamat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), designated as a terrorist group by the United States and the United Nations, had claimed responsibility for multiple attacks against police, military, minority Shi’ite Muslims and Christians, which killed hundreds of people in Pakistan.
TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, an umbrella group of militant groups which includes the JuA, confirmed Khurasani’s death.
Khurasani along with three other commanders was killed in an “enemy attack”, the TTP said in a statement sent to Reuters without giving the mode of the attack or the place of its happening.
Khurasani’s death was a heavy blow to the TTP, which is in talks with Islamabad amid an ongoing cease-fire, announced in May. Isolated militant attacks have continued, though the TTP has not claimed responsibility for any of them since the truce first went into effect.
The talks are being hosted by the Afghan Taliban.
Two Pakistan intelligence officials told The Associated Press that Monday’s suicide bombing in the town of Mir Ali also wounded an unspecified number of civilians and soldiers.
The officials would not elaborate and spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media on the record.
— With input from AP