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Suicide bomber strikes police station in Pakistan, killing 15

The dead include two women and two children. It's the sixth major attack by militants in less than two weeks.

October 17, 2009|Zulfiqar Ali and Alex Rodriguez

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN, AND ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — A suicide car bomber targeted a police station in the volatile northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Friday, killing 15 people in the sixth major attack by militants in less than two weeks.

Government and military leaders have said that an offensive to rout Taliban militants from their stronghold in the largely lawless region of South Waziristan is imminent. Early today, two intelligence officials told the Associated Press that the ground offensive had just begun. The officials, whose statements could not be immediately confirmed, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.

The suicide attack Friday occurred at the Crimes Investigation Agency headquarters, an interrogation wing of the city's police department. The assailant drove up to the agency's main gate and detonated the explosives-filled car, Peshawar Police Chief Liaquat Ali Khan said.

The explosion razed a section of the police station and tore a hole in a mosque next door. The dead included three police officers, two women and two children, authorities said. At least 11 people were injured.

At Lady Reading Hospital, where the victims were taken, a father grieved over the body of his son, one of the children killed in the attack.

"Oh God, these barbarians have ruined my life and family!" he cried.

At his residence in Islamabad, the capital, Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gillani met with army Chief of Staff Ashfaq Kayani and top government, security and political leaders to discuss the violence sweeping through the country in the last two weeks and an impending military offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan.

Nearly 150 people have been killed in strikes, which have included suicide bombings at marketplaces as well as highly coordinated commando-style raids at security installations.

On Thursday, militants carried out near-simultaneous attacks on three police facilities in and near the eastern city of Lahore, killing 14 people. Last weekend, 10 militants raided army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, taking 42 security officers and civilian workers captive. At least 19 people died in the assault, including three of the hostages.


Ali is a special correspondent.

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