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Pakistan: 12 killed in suicide attacks in NWFP

Last updated on: September 26, 2009 14:32 IST

Two suicide attacks within a span of hours rocked the provincial capital of Peshawar and a nearby town in Pakistan's restive North West Frontier province, killing 12 people and leaving over 85 injured, as the Taliban vowed to step up more such strikes.

Terrorists used explosive laden vehicles first to hit a police station near Bannu town, killing six people and injuring 60 others, mostly policemen, local media reports quoted the police as saying.

Hours later, in another brazen attack, militants blew up a bomb-filled vehicle on the main road leading to Peshawar's military cantonment, destroying a seven-storey building on the Sadar Bazar area, housing several banks, killing another six people and wounding 25 others, police said. Police fear that the toll may rise higher as many remain buried under the debris.

The Peshawar blast also damaged nearby buildings and blew up several cars in the area. The suicide bomb attacks came as United States drones struck Pakistan's lawless tribal belt, bordering Afghanistan, four times this month, killing more than 40 Talibans and foreign militants including dreaded terrorist Illyas Kashmiri.

"Six men were killed and 25 injured," senior police officials told newsmen at the scene of the attack, where the impact of the blast gutted cars and cracked the windows of many buildings.

TV footage showed volunteers hauling the wounded on to the back of trucks as police cleared the area to make room for ambulances. "It was a huge bomb blast, many bank officials are trapped inside the bank," eye-witnesses were quoted by TV channels as saying.

Pakistan's umbrella terrorist organbisation Tehreek-e-Taliban organisation claimed responsibility for the blasts and threatened to unleash bigger attacks on government targets to avenge the killing of their leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone attack.

Like the area hit in Peshawar, Bannu is also a famous garrison town, and police and soldiers remain the main target of the Taliban.

In the Bannu police station attack, officials said that the dead included three policemen and two detainees.

The new attacks by Taliban, officials say, are a sign that the militants retain the capacity to hit back even as a military campaign against them is in progress in the restive region. The organisation's commander in-charge of training suicide bombers Qari Hussain Mehsud told AP that the Taliban would stage more suicide attacks.

"We have broken the silence as the government did not understand the pause in attacks. And from now on, there will be an increase in the number of suicide bombings," Mehsud told the agency.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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