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12/02/2010 | Pakistan - Attacks continue to target police in northwest region

Reuters Staff

Twin blasts in Pakistan's northwest have killed at least 14, marking the second attack on police in as many days in the tribal northwest region. The bombings follow speculation that Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud is dead.

 

Two bombs went off at a police compound in the northwestern Pakistani town of Bannu on Thursday killing 15 people and wounding about 20, a doctor at the town’s main hospital said.

The bombing, the second attack on police in as many days, was suspected to have been carried out by two suicide bombers.  The town’s chief of police was among the wounded, police said.

The violence has come as the government says it believes its biggest militant enemy, Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, is dead.

The first bomb went off inside the police compound with the second, minutes later, just outside, police said.

"Seven police are among the dead," said a Bannu police officer.

A doctor at Bannu’s main hospital said 15 people had been killed and about 20 wounded people had been brought in.

The blasts in the town, which is 260 km (160 miles) southwest of Islamabad and near the North Waziristan militant enclave on the Afghan border, were caused by suicide bombers, a security agency official said.

The Pakistani Taliban, allies of the Afghan Taliban, have lost much ground in military offensives over the past year but they have responded with numerous bomb attacks, many of them aimed at the security forces.

A suicide car-bomber attacked police in the northwestern Khyber region on Wednesday, killing 19 people including 11 policeman, a soldier and seven civilians.

Speculation has swirled over the Taliban leader’s fate since Jan. 14 when security officials said a missile-firing U.S. drone had targeted him. A drone was belived to have attacked him again three days later, officials said.

The government had "credible information" Mehsud was dead, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Wednesday.

A Taliban spokesman has denied that Mehsud was dead but the militants also denied for weeks the death in August of their previous leader, who was killed by a U.S. drone.

France24 (Francia)

 


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