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Bump in road kills suspected bombers

February 25, 2007|From Reuters

CHICHAWATNI, PAKISTAN — Three members of a suspected suicide bomb team died Saturday after their bike laden with explosives hit a bump outside a town in Pakistan's Punjab province, police said.

Pakistan is in the grip of a nationwide security scare, with suicide bombers linked either to Sunni Muslim fanatics with ties to Al Qaeda or Pakistani Taliban killing more than 40 people in recent weeks.

Police have also arrested several would-be bombers in cities around the country.

The men killed by the blast near Chichawatni were believed to have been on their way to attack a prayer meeting for a policeman killed a few days ago, said Southern Punjab Additional Inspector General Mirza Mohammed Ali.

At least two of the dead men were students at a nearby madrasa suspected of having links to Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, a banned Sunni Muslim sectarian militant group, Deputy Superintendent Bashir Ahmed said.

Initial investigations suggested that the explosive device was home-made.

As many as 25 people were detained after the blast, including a dozen from the madrasa, police said.

Factions of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a militant group that sprang from Sipah-e-Sahaba and forged ties with the Al Qaeda terrorist network, are suspected in a number of the recent suicide attacks.

Intelligence officials have also thrown suspicion on Pakistani Taliban militants as the spate of bomb attacks followed a military airstrike on one of their bases in the restive Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

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