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Pak troops consolidate positions as 40 killed in mosque attack

By Rezaul Laskar in Islamabad
Last updated on: June 05, 2009 21:21 IST
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Pakistani troops on Friday consolidated their positions in the restive north-western Swat valley and nearby areas in the wake of two attacks by Taliban fighters that killed 14 security personnel, even as militants retaliated by targeting a mosque, leaving 40 dead.

The security forces also killed 10 more militants and apprehended six terrorists, including three activists of the banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi in different parts of the Malakand division, the military said in a statement.

Fourteen security personnel were injured in fighting over the past 24 hours. At least 40 people were killed and dozens injured when a suicide bomber struck during weekly Friday prayers at a crowded mosque in the restive Dir area of Pakistans North West Frontier Province.

The powerful blast occurred when over 200 people were present in the mosque at Hayagai Sherqi in Upper Dir district, witnesses said.

Top district official Atif-ur-Rehman told media persons that at least 40 people were killed and dozens injured. Doctors in local hospitals described the condition of several of the injured as critical. This was the ninth bomb attack in Pakistan since the army launched a campaign against the Taliban in nearby Swat valley. Local residents said the attack targeted a community that had resisted the Taliban in recent times.

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Rezaul Laskar in Islamabad
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