It was unclear whether the blast, which completely destroyed the bus, was caused by a bomb or by the gas cylinder used to power the vehicle. – AP (File Photo)

PESHAWAR: A minibus explosion in northwest Pakistan that killed 17 people and injured 11 others Monday was a terrorist attack triggered by a timed bomb, police told AFP.

Revising an earlier report that the blast had been caused by exploding gas cylinders, police in Jawarza, near the restive town of Hangu, said the minibus had been planted with about 10 kilogrammes of explosives.

“The report of the bomb disposal squad shows that explosive materials fitted with a timer were placed near the gas cylinders which caused the explosion,” district police chief Abdul Rashid told AFP from the scene.

“The death toll has risen to 17 and five bodies still remain unidentified, as they have have been burnt very badly,” he added.

The mangled and burned-out wreckage of the minibus and another passenger vehicle were left at the scene.

Rashid said most of the passengers in the minibus had been killed, along with two people travelling in a pick-up truck nearby when the blast occurred.

Senior police official Masood Khan Afridi confirmed that the blast was caused by high-intensity explosives.

“It was a terrorist attack,” he said. “We are looking for the owner of the vehicle, as the driver was killed in the blast,” he added.

In the same militant-hit district of Hangu on Friday, a female police constable was killed along with five of her relatives in a pre-dawn raid on her house by attackers armed with rockets and rifles.

The area borders the deeply conservative tribal region of Kurram, a lawless region on the Afghan border where entrenched militants oppose jobs and education for women.

Militants frequently carry out attacks in the area against both civilians and security forces.

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