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Terror Attacks, Threats Put Pakistanis Cities on High Alert


The Pakistani government has put the country's major cities on high alert after this week's deadly terrorist attacks in Lahore and Peshawar.

Getting in and around Pakistan's major cities has become much more difficult ever since Wednesday's suicide car bombing in Lahore that killed around 30 people and Thursday's twin blasts at a popular market in Peshawar that killed at least 14 people.

All traffic in and out of the capital, Islamabad, has been slowed as police conduct security checks. Additional barricades have been erected around high value targets, such as government buildings and the city's diplomatic enclave.

On Saturday, police said they rounded up about 70 suspects in make-shift dwellings on the outskirts of the capital and neighboring Rawalpindi. In Peshawar, all public gatherings have been banned. Security has also been tightened in Lahore and Multan.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani briefly addressed the media Saturday, telling reporters high level talks on the investigation into the recent attacks will take place on Sunday.

"For taking the information regarding the Lahore bomb blasts and also for the law and order situation in the country," he said.

A senior Taliban commander Hakimullah Mesud claimed responsibility for the Lahore attack, saying it was revenge for the military offensive against Taliban militants in northwestern Swat Valley and surrounding areas. And he warned Pakistanis to expect more.

The commander is a top associate of Taliban leader Baitullah Mesud, believed to have masterminded the assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

As fighting continued in Swat Valley on Friday, the army said 28 militants had been killed in the last 24 hours and seven arrested. The military says around 1,200 militants have died since the operation was launched nearly a month ago. The figures have not been independently verified.

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