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Blast kills Pakistan's top army medic

Latest update : 2008-02-25

A suicide attack in the garrison city of Rawalpindi killed the Pakistani army's top medical officer (photo) and at least three others. Home of the Pakistani army, Rawalpindi has seen several deadly bombings since January.

ISLAMABAD - A suicide bomber attacked a Pakistani military vehicle in the city of Rawalpindi on Monday, killing the army's top medical officer and two of his staff and five passers-by, officials said.


The blast happened a week after Pakistan held largely peaceful parliamentary elections and was the first bomb attack outside the violence-plagued northwest since the vote.


"Surgeon general Lieutenant-General Mushtaq Ahmed Baig, his driver and a guard were killed in the attack," said a military official who declined to be identified.


Five civilians were also killed and 25 people were wounded, he said.


The Pakistani military's headquarters is in Rawalpindi and several major attacks on the military and security agencies have taken place in the city since the middle of last year.


Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and more than 20 of her supporters were killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack as she left a rally in Rawalpindi on Dec. 27.


Monday's blast was outside an office of the government's national data registration agency, on a main road crowded with mid-afternoon traffic.


"The bomber was apparently on foot and as the car stopped on the main mall road, he hit it," senior city government officer, Irfan Ellahi, told Reuters.


"I can see pieces of flesh littering the road and four damaged vehicles," a witness said.


Police and troops cordoned off the site of the attack, the witness said.


Pakistan has been hit by a wave of suicide bomb attacks since troops stormed a radical mosque complex in the capital, Islamabad, last July.


The government has blamed the attacks on al Qaeda-linked militants based in remote mountains on the Afghan border and says they are intent on destabilising the country.

Date created : 2008-02-25