Three others were wounded in the bomb blast that targeted a police van in the northwestern town. — Photo by Reuters

PESHAWAR: Militants targeted a police vehicle and a security checkpoint with bombs in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing four officers and wounding nine others, police said.

Three policemen were killed in the first attack when a remote-controlled bomb destroyed a vehicle carrying police and paramilitary forces in the Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said Rafique Khan, a local police official.

Five security personnel were also wounded in the attack, said Khan, who blamed local militants but offered no evidence to back up his claim.

Also Thursday, a bomb ripped through a checkpoint manned by tribal police in Bara, a town near the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing one officer and wounding four others, police official Iqbal Khan said.

The attacks came a day after a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a mosque in Bannu and killed 18 people.

Wednesday’s attack was immediately claimed by the Pakistani Taliban. The Taliban said they were avenging US drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt.

“We claim responsibility for this attack. We will continue such attacks unless the drone attacks are stopped,” Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq, speaking from an undisclosed location, told AFP by telephone.

Wednesday’s bomb attack followed a missile strike by an unmanned aircraft on a militant compound in the North Waziristan tribal region at dawn, which killed five militants, security officials said.

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