Suicide attack in NW Pakistan kills 19: Police

The bomber struck a school van before hitting rear wall of police station.

Lakki Marwat: A suicide bomber rammed his car into a police station in northwest Pakistan on Monday killing at least 19 people, police said, in a new wave of attacks by al Qaeda- and Taliban-linked militants.

The recent bombings ended a relative lull in militant violence over the past month, which has seen the worst flooding in Pakistan`s history, and have added to pressure on a government struggling to cope with the crisis.

Nearly 100 people were killed last week in suicide bombings on processions of minority Shi`ite Muslims in the eastern city of Lahore and southwestern city of Quetta.

The latest attack took place in the town of Lakki Marwat.

The bomber struck a school van before hitting the rear wall of the police station.

"Nineteen people have been killed. There are nine policemen and two children among the dead," Information Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, said by telephone.

Hussain said 34 people, including 20 policemen, were wounded.

Militants have frequently carried out attacks in Lakki Marwat, a town near Pakistan`s lawless tribal areas, known as major sanctuaries for militants loyal to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Earlier this year, a suicide bomber blew himself up in an SUV at a volleyball game, killing nearly 100 people in a village near the town in one of the deadliest attacks in the country.

The Pakistani Taliban, who are now also seen as an increasing threat to the United States, claimed responsibility for the attacks in Lahore and Quetta.

On Friday, the Taliban also threatened to launch attacks in the United States and Europe "very soon," two days after Washington added the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Taliban Movement of Pakistan, to its list of "foreign terrorist organisations”.

Aside from its battles against homegrown militants, Pakistan is under US pressure to tackle Afghan Taliban fighters who cross the border from Pakistan`s tribal areas to attack US-led NATO troops.

Bureau Report