Three killed in attacks in northwest Pakistan

Islamabad: Three persons were killed and over 20 others injured in three terrorist attacks, including a suicide bombing and a blast outside the home of a provincial minister, in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday.

A suicide bomber targeted a police van in Bannu town of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, killing two policemen and injuring 18 others, officials and witnesses said. The van was destroyed by the blast.

The bomber, who was reportedly riding a motorcycle, detonated his explosives near Saddar police station in Bannu, which has witnessed numerous attacks by militants in the past few years.

Several policemen and passers-by were among the injured. Witnesses said the blast was followed by firing. Seven persons were injured in a blast that occurred 200 feet from the home of Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the Information Minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in Pabbi town.

Hussain, an outspoken critic of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan who has received several death threats, was not at home at the time of the blast. A group of labourers was engaged in some construction work near Hussain's home when the low-intensity bomb exploded.

Several labourers and passers-by were among the injured. Police said the bomb was hidden in a pile of gravel being used to build a roadside drain and footage on television showed the blast had created a crater.

Hussain, a top leader of the province's ruling Awami National Party, was in the provincial capital of Peshawar at the time of the blast near his home.

The minister's only son was gunned down by the Taliban in Pabbi in July 2010. Days later, a Taliban suicide bomber targeted Hussain's home and killed nine persons.

In the third blast, a bomb disposal squad personnel was killed while defusing a bomb on the outskirts of Peshawar, officials said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attacks though such incidents are usually blamed on the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.