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Pak violence kills 50; suicide attack at checkpost

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
August 28, 2009 01:50 IST
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Twenty-two people, mostly security personnel, were killed when a suicide bomber struck at a checkpost near the Afghan border in Pakistan's lawless tribal belt, even as a US drone strike and gun battles killed 28 people elsewhere in the region, most of them militants.

A young 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 22 people, mostly suicide attackers, were killed in the attack, and 27 others were injured.

The Abdullah Azam Shaheed Brigade, a militant group linked to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group had earlier claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing of the Pearl Continental luxury hotel in Peshawar in June.

Two days after 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 security forces captured 35 insurgents. 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.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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