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Bombers kill up to six in Pakistan's Peshawar: police

12 august 2011, 11:36
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A Pakistani policeman inspects the wreckage of a police van following a bomb explosion in Peshawar on August 11, 2011. ©AFP
A Pakistani policeman inspects the wreckage of a police van following a bomb explosion in Peshawar on August 11, 2011. ©AFP
Bombers killed up to six people on Thursday in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, where a woman suicide attacker blew herself up and roadside explosives struck a police vehicle, AFP reports, quoting officials.

In the first deadly attacks in the Taliban-hit northwest since the start of the fasting month of Ramadan, a woman threw a hand grenade at a police checkpost, then blew herself up, senior police official Shafqat Malik told AFP.

"Her vest did not explode completely. She was killed and another woman was also killed and three policemen were injured," Malik said.

"It is unclear whether the other woman was also an attacker or just a passer-by. Around eight kilograms of explosive material and ball bearings were used in the suicide vest," the police official said.

Women suicide attackers are extremely rare in Pakistan. The explosion struck just metres from the site of an earlier attack that killed four policemen and a child in the Lahori Gate area of Peshawar.

Pieces of shattered glass, human flesh, blood and police uniforms littered the area after the bomb, hidden in a handcart parked on the roadside, exploded.

"At least four policemen and a schoolchild have been killed in the attack," said Muhammad Faisal, a senior police official in the area.

He said that 18 other policemen are injured.

"The police van was carrying 20 policemen," said Imtiaz Shah, another police official, adding the vehicle was wrecked in the blast and a group of schoolboys were at the site when the bomb exploded.

"A 12-year-old boy has also been killed in the incident," he said.

Witness Mohabbat Khan, 45, told AFP that volunteers helped police evacuate the casualties after the attack.

"I was at home when I heard the blast. I came out and there were clouds of smoke. Then I saw the dead bodies and injured policemen. I shifted them to a police vehicle which reached at the site soon after the blast," he said.

Northwest Pakistan suffers from chronic insecurity, largely connected to the semi-autonomous tribal belt near Afghanistan, which Washington calls the most dangerous place on Earth and a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.

More than 4,500 people have been killed in suicide attacks and bomb explosions, many of them carried out by the Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist extremists, in Pakistan during the last four years.

On Wednesday, a US drone strike in the North Waziristan tribal district killed up to 21 Afghan fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, considered the top US foe across the border in eastern Afghanistan.

US officials have accused Pakistani intelligence of playing a double game with extremists, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, in order to exert influence in Afghanistan and offset the might of arch-rival India.

Washington's pressure on Islamabad to launch a decisive military campaign in North Waziristan, as Pakistan has conducted elsewhere in the tribal belt, has so far fallen on deaf ears.

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