Pak violence kills 48; suicide attack at checkpost

Last Updated: Thursday, August 27, 2009 - 21:48

Islamabad: At least 20 security personnel
were killed on Thursday when a suicide bomber struck at a check post
near the Afghan border in Pakistan`s lawless tribal belt, even
as a US drone strike and gun battles elsewhere in the region
killed 28 people, most of them militants.

The suicide attacker targeted the check post in Khyber
region, manned by personnel from tribal militia Khasadar
force, at around the time of `iftar` -- the meal for breaking
the daily fast during the holy month of Ramzan.

About 20 people were killed in the attack, TV news
channels reported. No group claimed responsibility for the
attack, but the Pakistani Taliban has been blamed for a deadly
wave of suicide bombings across the country in past two years.

Two days after the Taliban appointed a new chief, a US
drone targeted one of the key militant commanders -- Wali-ur
Rehman -- firing missiles on his stronghold in South
Waziristan. Eight people, mostly militants, were killed and
another nine were wounded in the strike.

Two Hellfire missiles were aimed at a suspected hide-out
of Rehman and later Taliban fighters were seen removing dead
bodies from the destroyed compound, Geo News reported quoting
local residents.

It was not clear whether Rehman, who has been made `Amir`
of South Waziristan in a new power sharing deal with the new
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud, was
near the compound.

The US has stepped up missile attacks on the Taliban
recently after their missiles scored a direct hit and killed
feared former TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud.

Elsewhere in the restive tribal belt, at least nine
militants and four soldiers were killed in a clash in the
South Waziristan region, as security forces backed by
helicopter gunships pounded Taliban hideouts.

At least seven militants were also killed in a gun battle
with police in Malakand division in the restive northwest,
where 35 insurgents were captured by security forces.

Militants ambushed a police convoy in Buner district,
triggering a gun battle. Seven militants were killed and four
captured by police, district police chief Rasheed Khan said.

In Swat district, which is also part of Malakand
division, security forces apprehended nine militants and
seized a vehicle that was being prepared for a suicide attack
in operations at Ser and Tilgram areas.

Twelve suspects were captured during search operations in
Charbagh, a former Taliban stronghold while four militants
were apprehended during an operation near Mingora, the main
city in Swat district. Six others were captured at Mulakabad,
Tahirabad and Mingora, the military said in a statement.

Bureau Report

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First Published: Thursday, August 27, 2009 - 21:48

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