Car bomb attack kills anti-Taliban tribesmen

Four pro-government tribesmen have died after a car loaded with explosive devices slammed into their vehicle in Pakistan's north-west. The attack follows a string of deadly bombings at the weekend and renewed threats from the Taliban.


AFP - Four anti-Taliban tribesmen were killed Monday in a suicide car bombing in northwest Pakistan, an area still reeling from similar deadly militant attacks at the weekend, police said.

The attacker rammed a car packed with explosives into a vehicle carrying a pro-government tribal elder involved in peace talks with rebels, in a town about 150 kilometres (93 miles) south of the provincial capital Peshawar.

"It was a suicide attack. The bomber sitting in a car smashed his car into the vehicle of Abdul Hakeem," said Bannu police official Iqbal Khan.

Hakeem and three other anti-Taliban tribesmen were killed instantly, Khan said, while a woman passing by at the time was also wounded.

Mohammad Iqbal Marwat, police chief of Bannu district, confirmed the incident and death toll in a phone call to AFP.

The blast struck in Bakakhel town, just on the outskirts of Bannu district, where another suicide car bombing on Saturday left 13 people dead in the main town. A similar blast in Peshawar the same day killed 11 people.

Taliban militants claimed responsibility for Saturday's Bannu blast, saying they were avenging the death of their leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone attack in August, and vowed to escalate their campaign against state targets.

Bannu borders the rugged tribal region of North Waziristan, where a clash between security forces and rebels on Monday left one soldier and seven Taliban militants dead, security and intelligence officials said.

"The Taliban fired a missile inside a paramilitary camp at Razmak killing one soldier and wounding five others," said a security official based in North Waziristan, who asked not to be named.

An intelligence official at Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, confirmed the attack and death toll.

In retaliation, security forces pounded militant hideouts in neighbouring South Waziristan's Makeen and Ladha areas.

"Seven Taliban were confirmed dead in the retaliatory fire and an unknown number of them were injured," the security official told AFP.

Pakistan's military has vowed to wipe out Islamist militants from the northwest. In April, troops launched a blistering assault in a bid to dislodge Pakistani Taliban from the northwest Swat valley.

Pakistan has been hit by a wave of bombings that have killed more than 2,100 people over the last two years in the nuclear-armed country which the United States has put on the frontline of the war against Al-Qaeda.

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