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Four killed in bomb blast in northwestern Pakistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The undated photo shows members of Pakistani security forces gathering evidence from a blast site in the country's restive northwestern region.

At least four people lost their lives after a bomb, concealed in a plastic bag, went off in a semi-autonomous tribal area in northwestern Pakistan, near the Afghan border, officials say.

The incident occurred in Khyber Agency, one of the seven tribal areas in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), on Saturday, when security personnel spotted a suspicious plastic bag left unattended near a security checkpoint.

"As the security officials were inspecting the plastic bag, the bomb concealed in it went off, killing a solider, two paramilitary troops and a civilian,’ a local administration official said on condition of anonymity. Other local security officials also confirmed the incident.

No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the deadly bomb attack.

Pakistani troops have for over a decade been battling militants in FATA to curb insurgencies by the Takfiri terrorist groups of Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The army has managed to reduce violence across the Asian country in recent years following a series of counter-terrorism operations conducted against militants, but every so often remnants of the terror groups carry out periodic bloody attacks, both against people and the armed forces, particularly in the northwest. 

Back in June 2014, the army launched a full-scale offensive in mountainous North Waziristan, part of which constitutes FATA, aimed at wiping out militant bases in the highly volatile tribal region. Thousands of people lost their lives in an insurgency that began there a decade earlier.

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