Suicide bomber kills 16 in D I Khan Pakistan
Suicide bomber kills 16 in Pakistan
Reuters, India; Sep 11, 2007
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suicide bomber blew himself up in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday killing 16 people as police tried to search him, police said.
Violence in northwest Pakistan has escalated since July when a peace deal with militants broke down in one region and the army stormed a radical mosque to quell a Taliban-style movement in the capital Islamabad.
The bomber was trying to get into a van taxi in the city of Dera Ismail Khan when police confronted him and told him to remove a shawl he had wrapped around him, police said.
The bomber, who was in his teens, then set off his explosives killing two policemen, a paramilitary soldier and 13 civilians.
"Most of the dead were in the vehicle," said police officer Abdul Hayee Babar.
Several hundred people have been killed in violence since July, most of them in the northwest, but more than 50 people have been killed in suicide blasts in Islamabad and the nearby city of Rawalpindi, where the army has its headquarters.
Separately, security officials said at least seven people were killed in clashes with pro-Taliban fighters in the South Waziristan region, also in the northwest on the Afghan border, where militants are holding about 240 soldiers captive.
Clashes in the Makeen area began early on Monday and went on through the night as militants attacked a school where security forces had set up camp.
South Waziristan, a semi-autonomous, mountainous region inhabited by conservative ethnic Pashtun tribes, is a hotbed of support for the Taliban and al Qaeda on the Afghan border.
Two paramilitary soldiers and four militants were killed in the fighting while a villager was killed when a mortar bomb hit a house, a security official said.
Negotiations with tribal elders to secure the release of the soldiers captured late last month in the nearby Ladha area are ongoing and media reports on Monday that the men had been freed were not correct, said military officials.
The militants want the army to withdraw from the area and free 15 comrades. They have released six captured soldiers this month.
The deteriorating security has fuelled concern that President Pervez Musharraf might use it as a reason to declare a state of emergency and cling on to power, as he faces mounting opposition to his plans to secure a second five-year term.