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North Waziristan suicide blast kills three

BANNU: Three people were killed Tuesday in a suicide bombing in North Waziristan tribal area, the first such attack there since the military launched a major operation against the Taliban and other militants.
The attacker detonated his car bomb in North Waziristan’s Spinwam village when he was intercepted on the approach to a checkpoint, officials said, killing two soldiers and a civilian.
Armed forces have used jet fighters, tanks and artillery in the offensive that began more than a week ago, killing around 300 people they have described as militants. 
“At least two soldiers and a civilian have embraced martyrdom,” a security official told AFP.
The deaths bring to 12 the number of security forces killed in the offensive, dubbed ‘Zarb-e-Azb’, since its launch on June 15.
A military statement said that troops stopped the suicide bomber 100 metres away from a checkpoint near a hospital and the action averted major casualties.
The Ansar-ul-Mujahedin militant group, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility, with spokesman Abu Baseer saying it was the start of a counter-offensive against Pakistani troops.
“It is beginning of our offensive and we will launch attacks against government and local tribesmen if they form an anti-Taliban force,” Baseer told AFP via telephone from an unknown location. 

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