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

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

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