Six people, including influential anti-Taliban tribal leader, killed in blast in northwestern Pakistan

An influential anti-Taliban leader has been killed in a blast by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in northwestern Pakistan along with five others in the first major bombing in the area in a decade.

Swat area police officer Zahid Marwat told Reuters that peace committee leader Idrees Khan died after his vehicle drove over an improvised explosive device, killing him and two bodyguards.

According to Swat station house officer Fayaz Khan, investigations suggested the attack was a “remote control bomb” which targeted Khan, reported Dawn newspaper.

Khan, along with two police guards and a child, was on his way Kotakay to Bandai village when the bomb, planted on a dirt road, went off, leaving the four people dead on the spot.

In addition, two pedestrians were also killed in the blast.

Khan previously led a a tribal force fighting against the TTP in Swat area, which was once the site of heavy fighting between security forces and militants.

Nobel Peace Prize winner and education activist Malala Yousafzai was also shot at in the same area.

The TTP has claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement and said that Khan had been on their hit-list for nearly 13 years.

In an intense military operation in 2009 Pakistani forces, along with local fighters, were able to drive the militants from the area.

The blast on Tuesday was the first major bombing in the area after the 2009 military operation.

The attack comes amid rising concerns about the return of the TTP to the Swat area in northwest Pakistan.

Peace talks between security forces and fighters, that started last year, have failed.

According to locals many affluent residents and political leaders have moved out of Swat in recent weeks after the TTP resurfaced in the area.

(Additional reporting by agencies)