Suicide bomber kills three soldiers in attack on Pakistan checkpoint

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:09am EST

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DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suicide bomb attack on a Pakistani checkpoint in the lawless region of North Waziristan killed at least three soldiers and wounded 32 people on Wednesday, intelligence and militant sources said.

Pakistan is fighting an increasingly active insurgency mounted by Taliban fighters, adding to a list of concerns for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a time when the government is trying to engage militants in peace talks.

Intelligence sources told Reuters that a truck laden with explosives rammed into a checkpoint in North Waziristan, a stronghold for al Qaeda-linked Taliban militants, killing at least three military personnel.

A Taliban source told Reuters the attack was in revenge for continued U.S. drone strikes in the region against militants holed up the mountainous areas on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

The Pakistani army imposed a curfew in the area after the attack, said intelligence sources. Another source said at least six government troops were killed.

Taliban attacks have been on the rise in Pakistan since Sharif came to power in a May election. The insurgency elected a new leader, Mullah Fazlullah, last month after its previous chief was killed in a U.S. drone strike.

Fazlullah has rejected talks with the government and has promised to step up attacks against the government.

(Reporting by Saud Mehsud and Jibran Ahmed; Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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