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June 24, 2017

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Suicide bombings kill at least 6 in western Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Two suicide bombings in northwestern Pakistan killed at least six people on Wednesday following an almost three-month-long lull in the volatile region.

A breakaway Taliban faction claimed responsibility for one of the attacks — a bombing that targeted the area's administrative tribal headquarters. Three policemen and two passersby died in that attack, which took place in the Mohmand tribal region near the Afghan border.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, or Freedom Movement, claimed the attack in a text message sent to The Associated Press. The same militant faction had said it was behind a deadly suicide bombing earlier this week in Lahore. The explosion went off at the main gate of the tribal headquarters in Ghalanai in the Mohmand tribal region, just as the workday was about to start, said Hameedullah Khan, a local government official. Khan, whose office is inside the compound, said the grounds are home to residences, offices and training facilities for the local administration and police employees. Hundreds of local residents come daily on business to the tribal headquarters, located 45 kilometers outside Peshawar, the provincial capital.

The bombing was followed by gunshots, Khan added. The Pakistani army said the bomber was accompanied by another militant, who tried to force his way into the compound after the explosion went off but that security guards opened fire and killed him.

The army statement said there was more vigilance among the security forces following intelligence that would-be attackers had infiltrated the area from Afghanistan.

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