Roadside bomb kills twelve troops in North Waziristan

* Several more injured as IED detonates while convoy of security forces passed in Ghulam Khan village *Troops call in air support, launch search operation after attack

PESHAWAR/MIRANSHAH: A remote-controlled bomb on Thursday killed at least 12 Frontier Corps personnel and injured several others in Ghulam Khan tehsil of North Waziristan near the Afghan border, security officials said.It was the highest number of casualties faced by security forces amidst peace talks between the federal government and the Taliban.“The improvised explosive device (IED) was planted on the roadside, which was detonated as the security forces’ convoy came near,” a security official spoke on the condition of anonymity.A press statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), however, said nine security personnel were killed and several others were critically wounded.Following the incident, additional security personnel immediately reached the site of the incident and cordoned off the area, as a search operation went underway. The victims were shifted to a nearby hospital. Curfew had been imposed in the area as well. Gunship helicopters also carried out shelling on militant hideouts in the area.No militant group had claimed responsibility for the incident until the filing of this report. The attack comes two weeks after the TTP formally ended a ceasefire called to help peace talks with the government. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government began negotiations with the TTP through intermediaries in February in the hope of ending their bloody seven-year insurgency.Since the TTP rose up against the Pakistani state in 2007, more than 6,800 people have been killed in bomb and gun attacks around Pakistan, according to an AFP tally.Elsewhere in North Waziristan, fresh infighting between rival TTP factions left at least 10 militants dead and 15 more wounded, sources said.Clashes have been raging intermittently for over a month between supporters of Khan Said Sajna, a senior commander once tipped to lead the group, and those of former leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed by a US drone last November.The latest violence came in the Shawal area of the district, where a shootout killed at least 12 militants.Meanwhile, a security forces official embraced martyrdom as a result of firing by terrorists on a check post in South Waziristan Agency.

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