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Published: Friday, 3/29/2013

Suicide blast in Pakistan kills soldier, 6 civilians

LOS ANGELES TIMES

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A blast set off by a suicide bomber killed at least seven other people in the northwest city of Peshawar in an attack that appeared to be aimed at assassinating a top Pakistani paramilitary official, police said.

The official, Abdul Majeed Marwat, heads up Pakistan’s Frontier Constabulary, a paramilitary police force that patrols the country’s volatile northwest and other areas. Marwat was unhurt in the blast, which occurred as his convoy was passing through a security checkpoint in a heavily guarded area of the city not far from the U.S. Consulate.

Police officials said the dead included six civilians and one soldier. At least 14 other people were injured in the attack.

Militants have stepped up terror attacks in recent weeks, particularly in the northwest, as Pakistan gears up for parliamentary elections on May 11. On Sunday, a suicide bomber killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at a checkpoint in North Waziristan, a tribal region that has long been a stronghold for Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

Three days earlier, a car bomb exploded while Pakistanis displaced by war in the tribal areas lined up at a food distribution center outside Peshawar, killing 17 people and injuring 28 others.

Police have told provincial government officials in the northwest that more than two-thirds of the polling stations in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, where Peshawar is located, are in areas vulnerable to militant attacks, and that additional police should be deployed at those polling stations during the election.



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