Apr 25, 4:59 AM EDT

Roadside bombing hits minivan in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region, killing 9; breakaway Taliban group claims attack


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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- A roadside bombing targeted a minivan in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region on Tuesday, killing nine people, a local official and the military said. The attack was claimed by a breakaway Taliban faction.

The blast ripped through the van travelling through a minority Shiite region of the Kurram tribal area, which borders Afghanistan, said Arif Khan, a tribal administration official in the town of Parachinar. The area has long been the scene of sectarian violence.

A woman and two children were among the nine killed while 13 people were wounded in the explosion. With few adequate medical facilities in the area, a Pakistani army helicopter evacuated the wounded to a nearby military hospital.

The breakaway Taliban faction of Jamat-ul-Ahrar said it was behind the attack on the Shiites. Pakistani Taliban and other Sunni militant groups often target minority Shiites whom they consider to be heretics. The Islamic State group has also claimed several recent attacks in the country.

For over a decade, Pakistan has been fighting Islamic militants who have killed tens of thousands of people. Islamabad has also undertaken several large-scale offensives in the tribal regions in an effort to rout militants from the area.

Also Tuesday, four convicted members of the Pakistani Taliban were executed in a prison, the army said.

In the southern port city of Karachi, paramilitary forces raided an apartment following a tip that militants were hiding there, police officer Aurangzeb Khattak said.

After a seven-hour siege, three militants, including a woman, blew themselves up inside the apartment. The explosion also killed a 5-year-old while a fourth militant was killed trying to flee the scene.

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Associated Press Writers Asif Shahzad in Islamabad, Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Adil Jawad in Karachi, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

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