- Pakistan - suicide bombing - USA
The White House on Monday denounced a suicide bombing that killed 15 people in Pakistan, calling it a "needless act of violence" and vowing to help the US ally fight "this common enemy."
"We offer our sincere condolences to those injured in this needless act of violence, and especially to those families who lost loved ones," White House national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.
"Extremists continue to show their disregard for all human life and their willingness to kill fellow Muslims. We will continue to stand with the people of Pakistan as they face this common enemy," Johndroe said.
His comments came with US President George W. Bush, in Japan for a rich nations summit, set to welcome Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to the White House on July 28 for talks on issues including counter-terrorism cooperation.
The bombing targeted police guarding an Islamist rally to mark the anniversary of an army raid on the radical Red Mosque in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, Pakistan officials said.
In the latest apparent act of revenge for the bloody storming of the mosque, the attacker blew himself up in a crowd of policemen just after thousands of hardliners demanded the public hanging of President Pervez Musharraf.
The operation to clear the mosque a year ago left 100 people dead, and unleashed a wave of suicide attacks that pushed the newly-elected government into entering peace talks with Taliban militants.
Dozens of dead and injured policemen lay in pools of blood after Sunday's blast, their blue uniforms ripped to shreds, an AFP photographer said. Batons, helmets and riot shields were scattered on the ground.
Musharraf condemned the blast and reiterated the government's "commitment to root-out terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan news agency reported.
The US-backed leader, whose allies were defeated in elections in February, urged the new government on Friday to do more to combat militancy, warning that otherwise there would be "Red Mosques everywhere".