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Pakistani soldiers killed in bomb attack on convoy

As many as 20 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in a bomb attack in northwestern Pakistan. Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for the assault, which took place in an army compound.

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Pakistan convoy attacked

The bomb tore through one of the vehicles in a convoy about to leave for the nearby volatile North Waziristan tribal area on Sunday morning, security officials said.

The attack, which killed up to 20 soldiers and injured two dozen others, took place in an army compound in the city of Bannu in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

A military source said the convoy, carrying army troops and paramilitary Frontier Corps, was part of a regular Sunday morning troop rotation going into North Waziristan, a lawless region on the Afghan border that is seen as a safe haven for mllitant groups linked to the al Qaeda terrorist network.

Responsibility for Sunday's deadly explosion has been taken by Taliban militants, with Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid warning that such attacks would continue.

The assault follows a threat by the Pakistani Taliban to step up attacks on security forces after the group elected a new leader, Mullah Fazlullah, at the end of last year.

Pakistani troops are often hit by roadside bombs, but blasts inside a compound are rare.

The Pakistani military has been fighting for years against militant in the tribal areas who want to overthrow the government and establish a hardline Islamic state across Pakistan.

tj/kms (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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