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Bomb kills at least 12 Shiites in Pakistan’s tribal area

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- A pickup truck packed with Shiite Muslim passengers struck a powerful roadside bomb in one of Pakistan’s volatile tribal areas on Wednesday, killing 12 people and wounding three others, officials said.

The attack in the Orakzai agency may have had sectarian overtones; the victims were traveling from a Shiite village to a nearby town. The explosion tore the vehicle apart, leaving behind flaming debris and charred bodies.

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The injured were taken to Peshawar, the urban hub of Pakistan’s northwest, for medical treatment. Security forces cordoned off the area, but no arrests were immediately reported.

Orakzai is considered a major bastion of the Taliban and other insurgent groups despite an offensive in 2009 by Pakistani security forces. The government exerts some control in Shiite-dominated areas, but insurgents have free rein elsewhere in the agency.

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