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Powerful Bomb Kills at Least 8 in Pakistan


A powerful bomb explosion in northwestern Pakistan has killed at least eight people and wounded 40 others. Shortly before the attack, a missile fired by a suspected U.S drone aircraft killed at least three al-Qaida-linked insurgents in the volatile tribal region of Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan. The Pakistani military says it has also killed more than 30 suspected terrorists in the same border region in the past 24 hours.

After the bpmbing Pakistan has ordered its army to go after the country's top Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud in the South Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Pakistani police are blaming Taliban extremists for a bomb blast Sunday at a busy market place in the northwestern city of Dera Ismail Khan. District police Chief Mohammad Iqbal tells VOA the death toll is likely to go up because some people were critically wounded.

He says that here are several children among the injured and described the terrorist attack as a reaction to the anti-insurgency military operation underway in the country's northwest.

Pakistani security forces are engaged in major anti-insurgent operations in a militant-dominated region known as Malakand Division. Military commanders say successes against extremists in this fighting have prompted the Taliban and their allies to hit soft-targets in urban centers of the country.

The bomb attack came hours after a suspected unmanned U.S spy plane fired a missile on a vehicle in the tribal region of South Waziristan, killing at least three suspected al-Qaida operatives.

The border area is a known stronghold of Baituallah Mehsud, leader of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

The extremist commander has claimed responsibility for major attacks, including suicide bombings across Pakistan in recent months. The latest such attack occurred Friday at a religious seminary in the eastern city of Lahore, killing one of the country's prominent religious scholars, Muhammad Sarfaraz Naimi.

The killing of the anti-Taliban cleric provoked deadly air strikes Saturday by Pakistani military in the South Waziristan region. Army officials say the strikes targeted militant hideouts and killed as many as 30 terrorists. But they would not confirm whether Baitullah Mehsud was among them.

The fugitive Pakistani extremist commander is also wanted by the United States for ordering terrorist attacks on U.S targets in the region. Washington has offered $5-million reward for information leading to Mehsood's death. The man is believed to be the main link between Pakistani militants and al-Qaida, as well as Taliban militants on the Afghan side of the border.


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