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20 dead, 85 injured in Pak bombings
Peshawar, Nov 13 (IANS):
Published on 13 Nov. 2009 10:36 PM IST
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At least 20 people were killed and 85 wounded Friday when a bomber driving a car packed with explosives set it off near the office of the Pakistani spy agency ISI in this North West Frontier Province (NWFP) capital and another blew himself up at a police station in the province's Bannu area. Pakistan has been struck by a series of terror attacks since Oct 5, when the latest wave of violence was unleashed by Taliban which is battling the army in mountainous South Waziristan. Peshawar itself has seen seven attacks in this period, killing 211 people and injuring more than 400, including Friday's attack. On Friday morning, a suicide bomber, driving a car stuffed with approximately 300 kg explosives, drove right up to a security check post located close to the heavily fortified three-storeyed building of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Though security personnel shot at him, the bomber triggered the huge explosion at about 6.30 a.m. Twelve people, including security personnel, were killed and 60 wounded in the powerful suicide bomb blast, Associated Press of Pakistan reported. Those killed and injured were mostly soldiers and ISI personnel. The suicide attack took place near Army Stadium chowk in heavily guarded cantonment area, police said. Sahib Gul, spokesman of Lady Reading Hospital, said that the death toll was 12 and 60 people were injured. The condition of several victims was critical, he added. NWFP's Information Minister Mian Muhammad Iftikhar said that three intelligence officials were missing after the attack and 40 to 50 vehicles were destroyed in the blast. A witness quoted by Xinhua news agency said that soldiers at the checkpost signalled the car to stop but the bomber exploded the vehicle near the three-storeyed building. He said the guards also fired at the car shortly before he detonated his bomb. The massive explosion, which was heard throughout the city, almost completely destroyed the building. President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani condemned the suicide attack in Peshawar. The two leaders reiterated their resolve in countering terrorism and not to allow anyone disrupt peace in the country. NWFP Chief Minister Ameer Haidar Khan Hoti also denounced the blast. He said that the terrorists have no religion and are targeting innocent people which is the extreme form of barbarism. All schools and educational institutions in the area were closed following the suicide attack. In the second suicide bombing, three people were killed and 25 wounded in a suicide bombing at a police station in NWFP's Bannu district. The suicide bomber rammed his car into Bakka Khel police station building at Rangsa Road in Bannu, Geo News reported. The building was destroyed. The wounded, including Station House Officer Riaz Khatak, were taken to district headquarter hospital Bannu. Peshawar has borne the brunt of the terror strikes in Pakistan since early October. On Oct 9, 50 people were killed in a bomb explosion. Less than a week later Oct 15, one person died in a blast while the very next day 15 people were killed in a major explosion. While Oct 23 blast left 15 people injured, five days later saw the horrific bombing in bustling Meena Bazar where 117 people died. This month Nov 8, the Taliban struck again with a bombing that left 18 people dead and 39 wounded.

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