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December 30, 2011

Bomb Blast Kills 2 Pakistan Soldiers

Pakistan security officials say a bomb blast has killed two Pakistani soldiers in the country's northwest near the Afghan border.

The remote-controlled bomb ripped through a vehicle in a military convoy Saturday on the outskirts of Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal region.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but the area is a stronghold of Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants.

Elsewhere in the northwest, a homemade bomb has exploded outside a tribal elder's home in the Khyber tribal region, killing two people and wounding at least four others.

A major land route to Afghanistan passes through Khyber and was used to supply U.S.-led coalition troops before Pakistan suspended it to protest a November NATO air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Also Saturday, security officials say military gunship helicopters attacked militant hideouts in the neighboring Orakzai tribal region, killing at least 10 militants.  The death toll could not be independently verified.

On Friday, a car bomb killed at least 13 people in the country's southwestern province of Baluchistan.

Police say the device went off outside a house in the provincial capital, Quetta.  The house was used by the family of former provincial minister Naseer Mengal.  

There was no immediate word as to whether Mengal or any members of his family were among the victims.  There was also no immediate claim of responsibility.

Baluchistan has been in the grip of a regional insurgency for years as separatist militants fight for more autonomy and greater control over natural resources.

The province bordering Iran and Afghanistan also is home to pro-Taliban militants.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.