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Suicide Bomb in Pakistan Kills 27

  • VOA News

At least 27 people have been killed and 40 others wounded after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a hospital in Pakistan's volatile northwest.

Tuesday's blast took place as Shi'ite Muslims gathered outside the hospital in the town of Dera Ismail Khan, near the Afghan border, to protest the murder of a local leader earlier in the day.

Regional police chief Naveed Malik told VOA the condition of some of the wounded was critical.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, but police say the suicide bombing appeared to be linked to sectarian violence between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims. An investigation is under way.

The violence came as security forces killed up to 25 militants in fresh attacks targeting militant hideouts in the Bajaur tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Security forces have been battling militants in Bajaur for nearly two weeks. Some 500 militants and at least 22 soldiers have been killed in the known stronghold of al-Qaida- and Taliban-linked militants. Thousands of residents have been displaced by the violence.

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