Suicide bomb kills at least twenty in northwestern Pakistan

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Local police have reported that a suicide bomber has killed at least twenty people and injured a further thirteen after attacking a military convoy close to the tribal Orakzai region of northwestern Pakistan. The attack happened close to a checkpoint in the city of Kohat on Saturday.

The incident occurred at 16:10 local time (10:10 GMT). "The bomber was driving a pick-up truck which he rammed into a convoy passing by a security checkpost," said senior police officer Fareed Khan. "At the moment, I can say at least 20 people, including soldiers and policemen, were killed." He added that two civilians and eighteen security personnel were among the killed, and the number of casualties would possible increase, as seven of those wounded were in critical condition.

The explosion was powerful enough to have damaged ten vehicles of the army convoy, as well as a police van stationed near the post.

Yousuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister of Pakistan, denounced the attack, describing it as "cowardly act of terrorism". He pledged that he would use an "iron hand" against insurgents.

A spokesman for Baitullah Mehsud, the chief of the Taliban, said by telephone to news agencies that rebels will continue to attack the security forces.

"It was retaliation for the US drone strikes and security forces will have to see more attacks because our people have suffered many losses in the missile attacks," the spokesman stated.