In Pakistan, bomb blast kills 8 people as US drone strike kills 4 suspected militants



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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A bomb blast killed eight people Sunday in northwestern Pakistan as a U.S. drone strike nearby killed four suspected militants, officials said.

The bombing struck a refugee camp housing internally displaced people on the outskirts of the city of Hangu, police officer Anwar Saeed Kundi said. The people there were displaced from a conflict in the nearby tribal region of Orakzai, he said.

He said the bomb was rigged to a motorcycle and killed eight people, including three children. It wounded 17 people, he said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast. Kundi said it was not clear as to why anyone would target the camp.

Suspicion is likely to fall on the Pakistani Taliban, who have been waging a war on the state to impose their version of a harsh brand of Islamic law. The local Taliban have killed tens of thousands of Pakistani in their over the last decade.

Meanwhile, the U.S. drone strike killed four suspected militants in South Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan along the Afghan border, intelligence officials and Taliban fighters said.

Those killed included two Arab militants and two of their local allies in a compound in the town of Wana, they said.

All of them spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists. Authorities don't allow journalists into Pakistan's tribal areas, which have long been a safe haven for local and al-Qaida linked foreign militants.

Pakistan's army largely cleared militants from South Waziristan in a 2009 operation, but militants still maintain a presence in its pockets, especially in its rugged terrain and thick forests.

Soldiers and Pakistan's air force now are fighting militants in North Waziristan in an operation that began in June.

U.S. drone strikes are widely unpopular in Pakistan, where many consider them a violation of the country's sovereignty that also killed civilians. But Washington has long relied on them to take out the militants in areas where Pakistan's army won't deploy.

Pakistan's Foreign Office condemned the strike in a statement, saying such attacks should be stopped as the Pakistani government was already taking decisive action against militants.

The U.S. does not comment on the strikes, which are carried out by the CIA.

On Sept. 24, a suspected American drone strike killed 10 alleged militants in the region that's also home to Afghan militant groups, including the Haqqani network, which attacks U.S. and allied NATO troops in Afghanistan.


Associated Press writer Asif Shahzad in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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