PESHAWAR, Pakistan, April 4 (BSS/AFP) - A bomb ripped through a passenger van in Pakistan's restive tribal belt on Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding nine others, officials said.
The van was carrying 15 men from Khurrakai village to Jamrud, the main town in Khyber district when it was hit while passing through a ravine.
"The passengers were going to town for shopping. So far we can confirm the death of six people while nine others are injured," Shakeel Khan Umarzai, a senior administration official, told AFP.
"Three people are seriously injured. It is unclear that the blast was caused by an IED or a planted bomb in the van but explosives were used," he said.
A doctor at the local government hospital where the dead and the injured were taken also confirmed the casualties.
"We are treating six other passengers who were wounded while three seriously injured have been shifted to Peshawar," Mohammed Anas told AFP.
Khyber is one of seven districts in Pakistan's semi- autonomous tribal belt, where Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants have carved out strongholds used to plot attacks on Pakistani, Afghan and Western targets.
Pakistani government troops are currently operating against militants loyal to local warlord Mangal Bagh.
The UN refugee agency announced last week that more than 100,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled the fighting in Khyber since January 20.
Washington has called the tribal belt the most dangerous place on Earth and the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.