ISLAMABAD - A roadside bomb has killed at least 14 people and wounded nine others in a remote northwestern region of Pakistan.
Local officials said Tuesday’s attack in Kurram Agency, a tribal district near the Afghan border, targeted a passenger minibus, and women and children were among the victims.
A militant group linked to the anti-government Pakistani Taliban took credit for the deadly bombing it said was aimed at members of the minority Shi’ite Muslim community and government workers carrying out a census in the area.
Local administration officials confirmed four members of a census team, including security personnel, were among those wounded.
The military immediately dispatched helicopters to the border region to evacuate "critically wounded" people to hospitals in the nearby city of Peshawar.
In March, a powerful bomb blast near a Shi’ite worship place in Parachinar, the administrative center of the tribal region, killed more than 20 people. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar also claimed responsibility for that attack.
Extremists from Pakistan’s majority Sunni Muslim population often target Shi'ites, condemning them as heretics. The sectarian violence has claimed lives of thousands of Pakistanis in recent years.
Hours after the deadly bombing, the military announced four members of the Pakistani Taliban were executed in a high-security prison. The men were sentenced to death by a military court for participating in terrorist attacks on civilians and security forces.
Separately on Tuesday, officials in the southern port city of Karachi said that four suspected terrorists, including a woman, were killed during a gunfight with paramilitary forces.
The suspects were in an apartment building in a congested neighborhood and when security forces raided their hideout on a tip. The suspects opened fire and threw hand grenades at them, said a spokesman for the paramilitary 'Rangers' force.
He added three “terrorists blew themselves up" during the firefight, while the fourth was gunned down by security forces.
The body of a five-year-old child was reportedly found by security forces during a post-siege search of the apartment.
Pakistan has been waging a war on Islamic militancy for more than a decade and retaliatory militant attacks have killed tens of thousands of people. But authorities say sustained counterterrorism operations in recent years have led to a significant reduction in militant violence across the country.