Islamabad, Pakistan (BBN)– At least 83 people were killed in a suicide bombing on a World Food Program (WFP) project and a series of helicopter raids against militant camps in the country’s northwestern area, officials said.

The blast occurred in Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district, once a stronghold of Taliban militants who have carried out several bombings and suicide attacks in the area.

A suicide bomber wearing a burqa killed at least 43 people at a WFP distribution point in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan on Saturday.

Most of the victims belonged to the local Salarzai tribe which supported military action against the militants and formed a militia to force them from Bajaur, according to local media reports.

A spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the bombing.

On the other hand, 40 militants were killed in Mohmand, another lawless tribal district, in a series of military raids, officials confirmed.

Around 4,000 people have died in suicide and bomb attacks across Pakistan since government forces raided an extremist mosque in Islamabad in 2007. The attacks have been blamed on networks linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

BBN/SI/SSR-26Dec10-11:16 am (BST)