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Blast Kills 9 Soldiers in Pakistan's Northwest

A roadside bomb in Pakistan's northwest has killed at least nine paramilitary soldiers.

Pakistani authorities said Thursday's blast in the North Waziristan tribal agency was "planted by terrorists." Several other soldiers traveling in the convoy were wounded in the attack, which took place in the village of Ghulamkhan near the Afghan border.

Local officials say the army has sent helicopters to the region to target suspected militant hideouts.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast. The area is a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban.

The attack comes just weeks after the al-Qaida-linked militant group formally ended a ceasefire with the Pakistani government. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to office pledging to negotiate peace with the Pakistani Taliban but talks with the militant group that began in February stalled.

Also Thursday, Pakistan's military says it successfully test-fired a surface-to-surface ballistic missile, capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads up to a range of 290 kilometers.



The military says army chief General Raheel Sharif witnessed the launch, reiterating that "the armed forces of Pakistan are fully capable of safeguarding Pakistan's security against any aggression."

Pakistan and its arch-rival and neighbor India, which is also nuclear armed, routinely test their missiles and generally notify each other about test dates.

The two countries have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

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