Death toll in NW Pakistan suicide attack rises to 22: officials
AFP - 1 hour 38 minutes ago
KHAR, Pakistan (AFP) - - The death toll from a suicide bombing against government-backed tribal elders fighting Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in northwest Pakistan has risen to 22, officials said Friday.
A suicide attacker blew himself up on Thursday as the elders met in Batmalai, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) northeast of Khar, the main town in the semi-autonomous Bajaur district bordering Afghanistan.
"Five more people died overnight in different hospitals raising the death toll in the attack to 22," local police official Fazal-i-Rabi told AFP.
Security has been tightened across Bajaur since the attack, he added.
Pakistan's tribal belt became a safe haven for hundreds of Al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists who fled the US-led toppling of Afghanistan's hardline Taliban regime in late 2001.
Pakistani forces have been involved in fierce clashes with Al-Qaeda- and Taliban-linked militants since a military operation was launched in Bajaur in August.
The military said last month that some 1,500 rebels and 73 soldiers had died since the fighting began while hundreds more militants were captured.
Pakistan troops meanwhile killed at least four militants in Bajaur overnight.
"Our troops pounded artillery on militant hideouts in Cheharming, Chinar and Banda areas, killing four militants," local administration official Mohammad Jamil, told AFP.
Pakistan has been accused by the United States and Afghanistan of not doing enough to stop militants crossing the border to attack US and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
But Islamabad says its operation in Bajaur is proof that it is committed to crushing insurgents.
Recommend this article
Average (0 votes)
Sign in to recommend this article »
Most Recommended Stories »
Most Popular – Top Stories
Among Obama's next challenges: his own security
IMF sees recession in advanced economies in 2009
ECB, Bank of England slash interest rates
Obama's grandmother, family 'rock', dies on election eve
World stocks plunge on rising recession fears
View Complete List »