Motorcycle suicide bomber launches Pakistan attack, at least three soldiers killed


Peshawar (Reuters) – A suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up as militants attacked a temporary military camp in northwest Pakistan and at least three soldiers were killed, security officials and the army said on Friday.

The bloodshed comes after Pakistan declared a new offensive against militants following a resurgence of attacks in recent months, including a mosque bombing that killed more than 100 people in February.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Troops engaged the militants for several hours from Thursday night in the district of Lakki Marwat, near a rugged tribal area bordering Afghanistan, two officials told Reuters, on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to provide information.

At least three troops and several of the militants died as a result, they added. The soldiers had been on their way to take up new posts at a nearby military base.

The army confirmed three deaths, saying the troops repulsed two more militant attacks in the same area.

“A motorcycle-borne suicide bomber exploded himself near security forces post,” it said in a statement, adding that that was followed by a fierce exchange of fire between the troops and the attackers.

The army killed seven of the attackers, it said.

A report by a Pakistani intelligence agency, which was seen by Reuters, identified a new, little-known militant group, the Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan, as being involved in the attacks.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.

The tribal region has long been home to Islamist militants, including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or Pakistani Taliban, which is an umbrella group of several Sunni militant outfits.

The local Taliban have been waging a war on the state in a bid to overthrow the government and replace it with their own harsh system of Islamic law.

Pakistan’s military has launched several operations in the area, dismantling the militants’ infrastructure and networks and forcing their leaders to flee to neighbouring Afghanistan.

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