Suicide bombing kills 10, injures 20 in Pakistan (Lead)

Islamabad, Nov 14 (DPA) Ten people were killed and 20 injured in a car suicide bombing near a police check post in Pakistan’s northwestern region Saturday, officials said.

The bomber detonated his explosives-laden car when the policemen tried to conduct a search in Pusht Khara area in Peshawar, the capital of country’s militant-infested North-Western Frontier Province (NWFP).

In other clashes between security forces and Taliban militants in Pakistan’s troubled northwestern region at least another 37 were killed.

The violence has intensified in Pakistan – with deadly militant attacks on security installations and civilian targets – since government troops launched an offensive against Taliban in the South Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border in mid-October.

Liaquat Ali, the city’s police chief said that 10 people were killed and more than 20 were injured in the attack.

The bombing also damaged an office of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, destroying a vehicle parked there and killing the driver.

Television footage showed the road littered with debris.

The strike came a day after a car suicide bombing targeted the regional office of the country’s spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), killing 14 security personnel and three civilians. More than 60 people were injured in the blast.

Bashir Bilour, the deputy head of the provincial government in the NWFP, said the bombings were a reaction to the military assault in South Waziristan. He vowed that such attacks that kill “innocent people” and “women and children” would not halt the action.

South Waziristan, located near the Afghan border, is a mountainous region that has turned into a hub of global terrorism in recent years. Hundreds of Al Qaeda terrorists are believed to be operating from their safe-havens in the district.

Around 30,000 Pakistani troops moved into South Waziristan in mid-October to fight an estimated 10,000 guerrilla fighters.

The Pakistan Army reported in a statement Saturday that seven militants died and four soldiers were injured in two clashes with the militants in South Waziristan.

With the latest killings, the military-reported death on the part of militants rose to 535 in more than three-week operation in South Waziristan, while 63 soldiers have also died.

Military gunships and jets Saturday pounded several positions of rebels in Orakzai, which is emerging as the new Taliban stronghold, killing at least 20 of them.

“Many more are injured but we don’t have the exact numbers,” said an intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In another tribal district of Mohmand, two Taliban fighters died and six were injured in the clashes with security forces when the insurgents attacked the residence of a pro-government leader in Baezai area.

The action came three days after the Taliban killed 10 soldiers and abducted 10 more in an ambush and roadside bombing in the same region.

Separately, a regional army spokesman in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat valley said that eight militants were killed during a security action in Charbagh area of the district.

Thousands of Pakistani troops are facing low-intensity insurgency in Swat and its seven adjoining districts after regaining control of the areas from Taliban during eight-month operation that the military officials say resulted in the elimination of more than 1500 militants.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani promised Saturday that the Waziristan operation would be as successful as that of Swat.

“I assure you that we have the will as well as ability for that,” he told reporters Multan, his home town that is located in eastern province of Punjab.