News / Asia

19 Killed in Pakistan Suicide Attack

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Pakistani police say a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-filled vehicle into a police station early in the day in the northwestern town of Lakki Marwat.The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility the attack.

The powerful blast destroyed the building housing as many as 50 policemen at the time of the attack.  Officials say children are among the victims because the bomber struck a school van before hitting the police station.  Television pictures also showed books and school bags in the wreckage.

Last week, a triple suicide attack on a religious procession of minority Shi'ite Muslims in the eastern city of Lahore left at least 35 people dead.  Two days later, a suicide bomber struck a pro-Palestinian rally in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing more than 60 people.  That attack came hours after a suicide bomber struck near a mosque for the minority Ahmadi community in the northwestern town of Mardan, killing two people.

Addressing a meeting of top provincial officials in Islamabad, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the violence.

"It goes to show that the terrorists have no creed except bloodshed and chaos, and are desperately carrying out their agenda regardless of the precarious conditions." he said. "I want to stress today that we shall never let their nefarious designs succeed."

Pakistani officials blame Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants for being behind the attacks that have ended a relative lull since heavy monsoon rains triggered the country's worst floods in history more than a month ago.

Pakistani security forces have launched major offensives to uproot militant bases in six out of its seven tribal regions along the Afghan border.

The town where Monday's suicide attack took place is located near the North Waziristan tribal region, where Pakistan has yet to launch a military offensive.  It is widely believed that al-Qaida and Taliban operatives have their training bases in the mountainous region.

U.S and Afghan officials also blame these militants for cross-border attacks on NATO-led international foreign forces.

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