Blast in Pakistan's capital kills at least 10

July 6, 2008 8:49:55 AM PDT
A suicide attacker detonated explosives near a police station in Pakistan's capital on Sunday, killing more than 10 police officers, officials said.

The blast occurred in a kiosk in front of the police station, said Naeem Iqbal, a police spokesman. Television footage showed wounded security forces being taken away and ambulances rushing to the area.

Just moments before the explosion, an Associated Press reporter passed by the scene and saw more than 20 security forces gathered nearby.

After the blast, a traffic intersection in the area was splattered with blood. Body parts were scattered as far as about 50 yards from the scene, and shattered glass also covered the area, which police cordoned off.

Rana Akbar Hayat, a senior government official, told reporters near the scene that more than 10 people were killed and that they had been targeted by the attacker.

The blast came as thousands of Islamists were gathered not far away to mark the one-year anniversary of a deadly military crackdown on a radical mosque. It was not clear whether the events were linked.

The explosion also came following recent threats of revenge from militants in Pakistan angered by a paramilitary operation against insurgents in the tribal northwest.

A new government that came to power following February elections has sought to end militancy in the country primarily through peace deals with extremists.

That approach has earned criticism from U.S. officials, who say the deals will simply give time for militants to regroup and intensify attacks on foreign forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

About a week ago, as militants in the northwest increasingly began threatening the key city of Peshawar, the government launched a paramilitary operation in Khyber tribal region to flush out the extremists.

That operation has been halted while officials try to negotiate peace through tribal elders, but Pakistani Taliban leaders promised revenge for the government's show of force.

Violence levels have fallen in Pakistan since last year, but attacks still occur.

In June, a suicide car bomber killed at least six people near the Danish Embassy in Islamabad. A statement attributed to al-Qaida took responsibility for that blast, which was believed to have targeted Denmark over the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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