Suicide Bomber Kills 8 in Pakistan
By SALMAN MASOOD: New York Times, November 1, 2007
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 1 — A suicide bomber struck a Pakistan Air Force bus this morning in the central city of Sargodha, killing eight people and wounding 40 others, air force officials said.
The bomber rammed into the bus near Sargodha Air Base, which is about 140 miles south of Islamabad and is considered to be the country’s most important air base. It is the headquarters of the Southern Air Command, and two squadrons of F-16 fighter jets are based there.
“The suicide bomber was on a motorbike,” said Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, a spokesman for the Pakistani military.
The attack was the first on air force personnel, suggesting an escalation in the challenges to Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. His authority has been undermined by growing unrest in tribal regions near the border with Afghanistan, where there has been a rising number of deadly attacks on military targets by militants sympathetic to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
All earlier major attacks had been on personnel and installations of the Pakistani Army.
The wounded were taken to hospitals, air force officials said.
The attack came two days after a suicide bombing in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistani military. In that attack, seven people were killed and at least 14 were wounded when a young bomber detonated explosives near a police checkpoint near General Musharraf’s military office.