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Nov 21, 9:33 AM EST

Bomb kills 2 soldiers in northwest Pakistan


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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- A bomb attached to a motorcycle struck an army vehicle in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing two soldiers, a police official said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Hours later, Pakistani jets killed 22 militants in a troubled northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The bomb exploded as the army vehicle was passing on the outskirts of the city of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, said police official Roohullah Bangash.

Two soldiers were killed while two other soldiers and two police officers were wounded in the attack, he said.

Within hours, Mohammad Khurassani, the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban - known as Tehrik-e-Taliban or TTP - claimed responsibility in a statement to media. The group is a separate entity from the Afghan Taliban.

Peshawar is located near Pakistan's tribal regions, a common hiding place for local and foreign al-Qaida-linked militants.

The Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups have been waging war against the state for over a decade in a bid to topple the Pakistani government and install their own harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

Pakistan's military launched a major operation in the country's troubled North Waziristan tribal region in mid-June, seeking to eliminate militants accused of launching attacks in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan.

So far, the army says it has cleared the militants out of 90 percent of North Waziristan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's military in a statement said its jets on Friday killed 22 militants in the country's northwestern Khyber tribal region, near Peshwar.

The ongoing operations in North Waziristan and Khyber are aimed at destroying militant hideouts and scattering the militants who have killed thousands of civilians and security personnel in recent years. Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif, who is currently visiting the United States, has vowed to eliminate all militants from Pakistan.

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