Top military officials in a northwestern Pakistani district say a suicide bomber has killed at least 13 people, including security personnel, and wounded more than 50 others. Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for the bombing, the third deadly strike in Pakistan this week.
The latest suicide blast happened in the northwestern district of Swat, where the Pakistani military claims to have largely quelled a Taliban uprising after months of bloody clashes.
Witnesses say the powerful explosion in Saidu Sharif, the administrative center of the mountainous district, caused almost all the deaths on the spot and several people were critically wounded.
The bomber was said to be heading toward a complex of civilian and army buildings in the town. Speaking to local reporters, regional military commander Major-General Ashfaq Nadeem gave details of the incident.
He says that the bomber's age was around 22 years and arrived on board a rickshaw at the main security post. The army general says the man stepped out of the three-wheeler and detonated the device when security guards tried to search him.
On Friday, at least 55 people were killed when two-back-to back suicide blasts hit a military convoy passing through a busy part of the eastern city of Lahore. At least 10 soldiers were among those killed in the deadliest attack this year in Pakistan. Several smaller explosions were reported through out Lahore following the suicide bombings, which sparked panic but caused no deaths. On Monday, a suicide car bomb in the city killed at least 13 people and wounded more than 80 others.
The extremist Taliban group has claimed responsibility for the violence. A spokesman for the outlawed group is reported as saying that more such attacks will be carried out unless the Pakistani army stops operations against Taliban fighters in the country's tribal regions bordering Afghanistan. The military action triggered a wave of deadly suicide and other terrorist attacks late last year, killing hundreds of people across the country. But the violence had significantly declined since the beginning of the new year.