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Car Bomb Kills 4 in Northwestern Pakistan


A car bomb has ripped through a police station in northwestern Pakistan Friday, killing four people and wounding at least 30 others. Local Taliban militants say they have carried out the attack to avenge killings of their fighters. Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.

The bombing took place in the northwestern town of Mardan, where Taliban militants have frequently carried out attacks.

Speaking by telephone, local police chief Akhtar Ali Shah told VOA that the bomb was planted in a car packed with explosives.

He says initial evidence at the scene suggests a timer was used to explode the bomb. The police chief condemned the attack as an act of terrorism.

A pro-Taliban movement led by Pakistan's most wanted militant commander, Baitullah Mehsud, took responsibility for the attack. A spokesman said said the bombing was carried out to avenge the killing of a senior Taliban commander by the police in Mardan.

Friday's attack seems to have ended a month-long lull in militant violence in Pakistan. Until the lull, terror attacks claimed hundreds of lives this year.

Friday's bombing comes despite orders from Taliban leaders to their fighters to stop attacks on security forces and official installations. It also comes amid reports that Pakistan's new government is attempting to strike a peace deal with Mehsud.

The Taliban spokesman said the group is still observing the ceasefire but will respond if security forces hit them.

Fugitive Taliban commander Mehsud is accused of planning terror attacks on security forces in the country, especially in the tribal areas near the Afghan border. He is believed to have close ties with the al-Qaida network and is also alleged to have ordered the assassination, in December, of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

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