A suicide bomber threw himself at a passing paramilitary convoy near a crowded market killing 41 people and wounding 50 others in Shangla district in Pakistan's Malakand division in the North-West Frontier Province, two days after Taliban militants stormed the army headquarters in Rawalpindi. Witnesses said the suicide bomber blew up near a security forces vehicle as it was passing through a security check post in the market at Alpuri and most of the dead were civilian passersby. The attack occurred close to a police station.
North West Frontier Province Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said 41 people, including six security personnel, were killed in the blast.
Police officials said over 50 people, including soldiers and policemen, were injured.
"The condition of five of the injured security personnel was reported to be serious," a local police official told a private television channel.
The official said the target of the bomber was the security convoy, but many civilians were killed, as they were huge number of people in the market at the time of the blast.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack though Taliban has vowed to carry out more such strikes to take revenge for the death of their leader Baittulla Mehsud.
As security forces prepare for a major operation against the Taliban in Waziristan, this was the fourth major terrorist attack in Pakistan in a little more than a week.
A suicide attacker struck the UN food agency's office in Islamabad last week, killing five persons while over 50 people died in a suicide car bombing in Peshawar a few days later. Eleven soldiers and nine gunmen were killed over the weekend when a group of heavily armed terrorists attempted to storm the Pakistan Army's general headquarters in Rawalpindi. The terrorists also took some 50 hostages before they were killed in a rescue operation carried out by army commandos.The army launched a major operation against the Taliban in Malakand division, which includes the troubled Swat valley, in May. The army claims it has killed over 2,000 militants in the region so far.