Eight killed in Pakistan military convoy attacks (Lead)

September 20th, 2008 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Sep 20 (DPA) At least eight people, including five soldiers, were killed Saturday when a suicide car bomber and a roadside explosion separately hit two military convoys in Pakistan’s restive tribal region along the Afghan border, an army spokesman said.”A suicide attack on army convoy to place at around 0530 GMT at Eisha post while it was moving from Mir Ali area to Miranshah in the tribal district of North Waziristan,” Major Murad Khan told DPA.

“Three soldiers and three civilians died in the attack, while five soldiers were injured,” he added.

However, a local security official claim the death toll was 10.

Four army vehicles were destroyed and several other damaged in the blast. Security forces cordoned off the area and military helicopters were evacuating the injured to an army hospital in Bannu, said a security official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Around six hours later an IED explosion hit another army convoy just one kilometre short of Javed Sultan security camp in South Waziristan district. “Two soldiers met shahdat (martyrdom) and three were injured,” Major Murad said.

Pakistan’s tribal areas are believed to be sanctuaries for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants launching cross border attacks on US-led international forces into Afghanistan.

Despite deployment of around 120,000 troops along the border to stop movement of militants across the frontier, the country has gained little success.

This has prompted the US to increase aerial strikes on suspected Al Qaeda hideouts in tribal areas, a factor which has also strained relations between the two countries and intensified public pressure on Islamabad to end cooperation in international fight against terrorism.

“We will not tolerate the violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism,” country’s new President Asif Ali Zardari told a joint session of parliament Saturday, as lawmakers thumped their desks in applause.

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