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Roadside bomb kills 14 Pakistani soldiers

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, ­Pakistan — A roadside bomb hit a Pakistani army convoy Sunday in a mountainous militant stronghold in the northwest, killing 14 soldiers, one of the deadliest attacks against the army in that sector, intelligence officials said.

The North Waziristan tribal area is a major trouble spot that the military has been reluctant to tackle. The remote region is home to Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda militants at war with the government.

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It is also used as a sanctuary by other militants who have focused their attacks in neighboring Afghanistan.

The attack Sunday ­occurred near Dosalli village in North Waziristan, said Pakistani intelligence officials. The blast destroyed two vehicles and damaged a third, they said. The 14 dead and 20 wounded were taken to a military hospital in the nearby town of Miran Shah, the ­officials said.

Pakistani military officials confirmed the bombing but said four soldiers were killed and 11 others wounded. The discrepancy could not immediately be reconciled.

The Pakistani military is worried that if it targets its enemies in North Waziristan, it could prompt other militants in the area to turn against Pakistan.

The most powerful group in the area, the Afghan Haqqani network, is also believed to be seen by the army as a potential ally in Afghanistan after ­foreign forces withdraw, making a military offensive even more complicated.

North Waziristan has been a sore point in relations between Pakistan and the United States. Washington has repeatedly pushed Islamabad to launch an operation in the ­area, especially against the Haqqani network. Pakistan has refused.

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