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PESHAWAR: At least nine people were killed Thursday in two explosions in the northwestern tribal region of Orakzai.

The blasts also wounded 23 others Lower Orakzai tribal region.

The first explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) and targeted a passenger van traveling from Hangu towards Kohat.

The second explosion took place at a location near the area of the first blast incident.

Separately, fighter jets attacked militant hideouts in Upper Orakzai, killing six militants.

Three insurgent hideouts were also destroyed in the action.

Orakzai is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal regions in the northwest, where Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked militants are said to have carved out strongholds.

The area was the original base of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud before he moved to South Waziristan to take up the Taliban leadership after the death of his predecessor, Baituallah Mehsud.

Unlike the six other tribal agencies, Orakzai does not border Afghanistan. The rugged mountainous territory provides a crucial link for militants operating in other tribal regions, as it borders Khyber and Kurram on the Afghan frontier. It also borders Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Pakistan’s main northwestern city, as well as the garrison town of Kohat.

Updated Feb 14, 2013 06:39am

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