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article imageBomb kills eight Shiites in NW Pakistan

By AFP     Jan 30, 2018 in World

A roadside bomb on Tuesday killed eight people including three women and a child in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt near the Afghan border, in the latest attack apparently targeting Shiite Muslims.

The improvised explosive device exploded in the Shiite-dominated Maqbal area of Kurram tribal district as a van carrying nine people drove by.

Eight passengers including three women and a seven-year-old boy were kiled, senior local government official Basir Khan Wazir told AFP.

He said officials were struggling to identify the mutilated victims but initial evidence suggested all the passengers were Shiite Muslims.

A local intelligence official confirmed the incident and casualties.

Upper Kurram has been the scene of several bomb attacks targeting Shiite Muslims in the past.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but mainly Sunni Muslim Pakistan has frequently been hit by sectarian violence in recent years.

Sunni militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban often attack Shiites, who make up some 20 percent of the population.

Kurram is one of the seven semi-autonomous regions which form the tribal belt along the Afghan border. Militants linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have taken sanctuary there for over a decade.

The tribal districts are among the poorest areas in Pakistan and often complain of neglect by Islamabad.

They also remain a top target for militant groups, despite a dramatic improvement in security in the country at large in recent years.

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