Suicide bomber wounds seven in northwestern Pakistan

Rescue workers transport body parts of blast victims from the site of a bomb attack in Peshawar. (Reuters)

A suicide bomber Saturday struck a police patrol in a town in northwestern Pakistan, wounding three policemen and four civilians, police said.

The bombing took place at a market in Katalang, 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Peshawar, the capital of restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which borders Afghanistan.

“At least three policemen and four civilians were wounded after a suicide bomber blew himself up close to a police patrol car,” local police official Israel Khan told AFP.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, Khan said, but Taliban militants in the past have carried out several bombings in the region.

Pakistan says more than 35,000 people have been killed as a result of terrorism in the country since the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Earlier on Friday, a suicide bomber targeted a senior Pakistani police commander, killing 12 people, including two women and wounding at least 28, near the U.S. consulate in Peshawar, officials said.

It was the latest in a string of attacks as the country prepares to hold historic elections on May 11. The vote will mark the first democratic transition of power in Pakistan, which has been governed by four military rulers.

“It was a suicide attack, the target was the FC commander,” police official Arshad Khan told AFP.
Among the dead were two soldiers and one member of the FC, while the wounded were a mixture of civilians and military personnel, officials said.

The blast damaged two motorcycles and four cars, including Marwat’s vehicle. Splashes of blood lay on the ground and an AFP reporter saw a pair of legs, presumed to be that of the bomber.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Pakistani police, soldiers and paramilitary units are frequently targeted by domestic Taliban, who have been fighting an insurgency since July 2007.

There are fears that rampant insecurity could prove a major challenge for the elections, not least in Peshawar, a key electoral battleground and home to 2.5 million on the edge of the tribal belt, a Taliban and Al-Qaeda stronghold.

The relatively nearby Tirah Valley has offered Pakistan’s umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban a new base in the tribal district of Khyber, beyond the reach of ground troops and posing a heightened threat to Peshawar.

Pakistan says more than 35,000 people have been killed as a result of terrorism in the country since the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
 

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Last Update: Saturday, 30 March 2013 KSA 10:10 - GMT 07:10
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