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Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, seen in an Oct. 3 photo, is confirmed by a government minister to have been killed last month. ((Ishtiaq Mehsud/Associated Press))

A suicide bomber has attacked a tribal police patrol in northwestern Pakistan, killing 10 policemen, according to a local government official.

Rasheed Khan said the attacker rammed his car into a police vehicle Wednesday on the main highway in the Khyber tribal area near the border with Afghanistan.

Fifteen people were wounded in the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility, but Taliban militants often target security forces in the region.

Taliban leader confirmed dead

The attack came the same day that a Pakistani government minister confirmed that Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud has died.

Reports of Mehsud's death surfaced after U.S. missiles hit his stronghold in northwest Pakistan's tribal belt in mid-January.

Officials from the United States and Pakistan told news agencies Mehsud had died in the attack in South Waziristan on Jan. 14, but spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

On Wednesday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik confirmed to The Associated Press that Mehsud is dead, the first confirmation attributable to a senior official.

Malik did not provide any details as to when or how 28-year-old Mehsud had died.

The Taliban denied the leader's death when the reports surfaced, but has backed off an initial promise to prove he was still alive.

Hakimullah Mehsud had taken over from previous leader Baitullah Mehsud, killed in a U.S. drone strike in August.

With files from The Associated Press