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21 killed in Pak terror strikes

Islamabad, Feb 14, 2013, (PTI) : 0:23 IST

Tehrik-e-Taliban blamed

In a series of terror attacks targeting security forces, at least 21 people, including six militants and five security personnel, were killed and over 40 injured in Pakistan’s restive northwest on Thursday.

A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden pick-up truck into a check post manned by policemen and Frontier Corps personnel in Hangu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Eleven people, including five security personnel and two children, were killed in the attack, officials said. Twenty-three injured people were taken to nearby hospitals. The blast created an eight-foot crater and the check post was destroyed.

Authorities imposed curfew after the blast and additional security forces were sent to the area. The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack.

Earlier in the day, three persons were killed and nine more injured when a van was targeted with an improvised explosive device at Hasanzai Bazar in Orakzai Agency, one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts.

The injured were taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors described the condition of some victims as critical. In yet another attack in Hasanzai Bazar, a bus carrying members of an anti-Taliban militia was targeted with a roadside bomb. The explosion killed seven persons and injured 13, officials said.

The members of the pro-government militia belonged to Khyber tribal region, which has witnessed intense fighting between rival militant factions in recent weeks. The militia members were on their way to a meeting. No group claimed responsibility for the two attacks in Orakzai Agency. The three terror attacks came hours after security forces repulsed a suicide attack on a police station at Bannu in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Six militants, including suicide bombers, were killed in the attack and a policeman was injured. The militants launched their assault at 6.30 am, triggering a fierce gun battle that continued for about 90 minutes.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan claimed responsibility for the attack on the police station, saying it was carried out in retaliation for the killing of eight militants in the tribal belt.

On Wednesday Interior Minister Rehman Malik called on the Taliban to announce a month-long truce to pave the way for peace talks which the militants offered earlier this month.

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