At least nineteen dead after suicide bomb blast in Pakistan

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Peshawar is located in the North-Western Frontier Province of Pakistan

A suicide bomber has killed at least 19 people around a courthouse in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan.

Witnesses said that the powerful explosion occurred during rush hour. Several security personnel and lawyers are among the victims, and doctors reported that some of those injured are in a critical condition.

"One policemen [sic] has been martyred and four injured in the attack," said a senior police official, Mohammad Karim Khan.

Senior police officer Sahibzada Anis, speaking to reporters, said that the suicide bomber was on foot and detonated the device when security guards stopped him for a search at the main entrance. The blast damaged several cars parked nearby. "The attacker was on foot and blew himself when guards tried to search him at the gates of the court," he said.

Thursday's suicide attack in Peshawar took place hours after missiles fired by a suspected American drone killed at least four suspected militants and wounded five others in the North Waziristan region, on the Afghan border. The area is a known stronghold of Afghan and al-Qaeda militants.

Taliban insurgents have intensified attacks in the country — particularly in and around Peshawar — after the Pakistani army launched an offensive against militant bases in South Waziristan. Officials said that since early last month more than 300 people have died in bombings and militant raids on government, civilian, and Western targets in the country.