Blast kills up to 8 in Pakistani region

A powerful explosion destroyed a militant compound and killed up to eight people Monday in a volatile tribal region where Pakistan security forces are waging an offensive against pro-Taliban militants, residents said.

A militant spokesman claimed it was a missile strike launched from neighboring Afghanistan, where US and NATO forces are based, but there was no official confirmation of such an attack. The political administration of the Khyber tribal area said at least five people were killed and three were injured in an explosion, but that its security forces had not fired on the damaged building. Residents said the blast occurred at a compound owned by a supporter of Haji Namdar, a local militant leader whose Vice and Virtue Movement is suspected of cross-border assaults. Villager Nawaz Khan Afridi said he saw eight bodies. Pakistani paramilitary forces launched an offensive in the region three days ago against militants threatening the main northwestern city of Peshawar and a key supply line for the US military effort in Afghanistan.