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An explosion at a home in northwestern Pakistan killed three people Wednesday in what police said was a premature blast by suicide bombers amid surging violence in regions along the Afghan border.
There were no immediate indications of the intended target of the attackers on the outskirts of Peshawar, capital of North West Frontier Province, but the blast site suggested they were preparing suicide attacks, police officer Farid Shah said.
“Initial evidence suggests that they were suicide attackers,” Shah said. “They were preparing for an attack but the explosion occurred.”
Pakistan - a close US ally in the war against terrorism - has seen a spike in militant-linked attacks recently in the tribal regions along its border with Afghanistan. Battles between security forces and Islamic fighters have left scores of people dead.
On Tuesday, a missile strike struck a home in the North Waziristan tribal region, near the Afghan border, killing 12 suspected militants inside, intelligence and government officials said.
Tuesday’s missile strike happened in Khushali Torikhel, a village in North Waziristan about 70 kilometres east of the border, local officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.
A resident said an armed drone may have carried out the strike.
“We could see a small, white plane flying over the village for the past several days,” villager Dildar Khan said.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said he had no information about any missile strike.
The government often uses airstrikes to attack militants in areas that its ground forces and artillery cannot reach, but some of the aerial attacks near the border in recent years are believed to have been launched by missile-armed US drones flying from Afghanistan.
Authorities in both the US and Afghanistan have denied knowledge of such operations.
On Tuesday, a meeting of top security officials in Islamabad, chaired by Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Hamid Nawaz, affirmed the commitment to combat militancy. It directed authorities “to take stringent measures to curb (terrorist) elements involved in militancy and violence, with no leniency.”
President Pervez Musharraf, who returned home Tuesday after a weeklong trip to Europe, has faced increasing pressure because of the escalating violence, ahead of parliamentary elections on February 18.
Nationwide violence tied to militancy has killed 370 people this month, according to an Associated Press tally based on information by military and other officials. (AP)
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