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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bomb blast kills seven in NW Pakistan

Suicide bomber kills seven in NW Pakistan: police

Bomb blast kills seven in NW PakistanA suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up near a police checkpoint in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday killing seven people and wounding 16 others, police said.

"The bomber came on a motorbike and detonated himself close to Ambar check post near Swabi town," local police chief Abdullah Jan said.

He said the checkpoint was close to a camp set up by a religious political party for a public meeting in Swabi, which is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Peshawar.

"The death toll has gone up to seven including a police official," he said.

"We have recovered the body parts of the suicide bomber."

Another police officer Ejaz Ali confirmed the toll and put the number of wounded at 16.

The meeting was planned by the hardline Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) party led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman. The event was cancelled after the bombing.

Rehman was on his way to the venue when the blast happened, party spokesman Jalil Jan told AFP.

"He is safe and the meeting has been cancelled," Jan told AFP. "We can't immediately identify the attackers. We don't know who is involved. But we can say the target appears to be the JUI leadership.

"Six party supporters were martyred and seven wounded," he said.

Police official Hayatullah Khan told AFP that Rehman's convoy was set to enter the town when the blast hit.

"We were lined up and party members came out from a nearby reception camp.

Suddenly there was a huge blast amid welcome slogans by party workers. Shrapnel hit me and I received injuries to my head and leg," he said.

The northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province bordering Afghanistan has frequently been the target of militant violence.

More than 4,000 people have died in suicide and bomb attacks throughout Pakistan since government forces launched an offensive against militants in a mosque in Islamabad in 2007.

Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants launch almost daily attacks across northwest Pakistan and the tribal belt that Washington has branded the most dangerous place on Earth.

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