PESHAWAR: At least seven suspected militants were killed when an explosion hit a vehicle in main Mir Ali town of North Waziristan agency on Tuesday, security sources said.
They said militants were preparing an explosive-laden vehicle for a suicide mission when it accidentally exploded near Mosaki village of Mirali tehsil, killing four militants on the spot. Three more suspected militants later died in Mir Ali Hospital.
Militant commander Saifuddin, who is said to be the chief of the Taliban in Baka Khel area of FR Bannu region, was reported to have been killed in the explosion. The blast also injured another five people, security sources said.
Taliban militants also confirmed Saifuddin’s death.
However, speaking to Dawn.com from an undisclosed location, a Taliban militant claimed that the explosion was a suicide attack on their vehicle.
He said the militant commander was traveling from Khaisur village when his vehicle was attacked near Mosaki village of Mirali tehsil, killing him and three other militants.
Neither of the claims could be independently verified as access to media is restricted in the area. North Waziristan is one of seven semi-autonomous regions in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) governed by tribal laws.
An extremist insurgency led by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) plagues the region, known to be infested with militants including those from Al Qaeda and other armed extremist organisations.
The region is chiefly off-limits to reporters because of security worries and government restrictions due to which reliable casualty figures are difficult to acquire from there.