9 killed, 35 wounded in Pakistan suicide attack

14 die, including four soldiers, as pro-Taliban militants attack military checkpoint in tribal region of North Waziristan.

pakistan bomb 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
pakistan bomb 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
A suicide attacker slammed an explosive-laden car into traffic at a busy bus station in northwestern Pakistan, unleashing a blast that killed nine people and wounded 35 others, officials said. The explosion went off Saturday morning in the town of Parachinar in North West Frontier Province - the restive region bordering Afghanistan - tearing through the bus station and powerful enough to damage neighboring shops, said Mohammed Kamal, a local police official. The bomber plowed his car into another vehicle next to a bus packed with passengers just before the blast, he said. "According to our information, it was a suicide attack, and the body parts of the attacker are being collected," Kamal said. In the nearby tribal region of North Waziristan, pro-Taliban militants attacked a military checkpoint in remote Oblanki, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said. Ten militants and four troops were killed before the attackers fled back into the region's mountains, pursued by helicopter gunships, Arshad said. Five other soldiers were wounded. The security situation in Pakistan, especially in the tribal zone bordering Afghanistan, has been deteriorating for weeks, and almost daily attacks have killed more than 350 people. Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, and it has deployed about 90,000 soldiers in its tribal regions since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to flush out remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaida, who are believed to be hiding there. The surge in violence has followed tribal leaders' withdrawal from a 2006 peace deal with the government, and amid widespread anger at an army raid of Islamabad's radical Red Mosque last month that left at least 102 people dead. Sahabzada Mohammed Anis, the top government official in Parachinar, said the dead and injured from the bomb blast were rushed to hospitals in Parachinar, about 250 kilometers south of the provincial capital of Peshawar. Mohammed Sultan, a doctor at the Parachinar Hospital, said they received five bodies after the blast, and that four of the injured died later. At least two other victims were still in a critical condition, he said. Arshad said Saturday's gunbattle in North Waziristan raged between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. (2200 GMT to 0000 GMT) and ended when the militants fled with some of the bodies of slain associates. A local intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media, said the assailants shouted "God is great" and used rockets, assault rifles and other munitions to target the checkpoint.