Suicide bomber kills twelve in northwest Pakistan

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

At least twelve civilians have died and over 25 wounded in a suicide bombing in the Hangu District of north-west Pakistan, Thursday night. A convoy of 140 vehicles running from Tall, in Hangu District to the town of Parachinar in Kurram Agency, FATA was targeted.

The victims, some of them women, were at a petrol station in Hangu. The wounded were taken to adjoining hospitals.

According to police, the attacker detonated a bomb near a fully loaded bus. The convoy carried several people, vehicles filled with provisions and commodities for trading. A majority of the people in the group were Shia Muslims.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Several insurgents have attacked the country's North West Frontier Province in the last year. Earlier, three died in another suicide attack on a police station in Karak, located in the same area.

Many Shi'as dwell in the Parachinar and Orakzai area which has been home to violence in the past. The Tall-Parachinar road was closed to the public in 2008 and 2009 due to Taliban activity. The latter targeted Shia Muslims, sources say. The road was re-opened about two months ago, with convoys guarded by security forces forming the bulk of the traffic.

Hangu borders Pakistan's tribal regions, where several militant groups are believed to be operating. However, security forces say that arrangements have improved from the past.