Four killed, 44 wounded in Pakistan bombing (Lead)

July 15th, 2010 - 4:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, July 15 (DPA) A suspected suicide bombing Thursday ripped through a busy street outside a bus stand in Pakistan’s north-western district of Swat, killing four people and injuring at least 44, police said.
The blast took place in Mingora, the main city of the mountainous district, where the military has been fighting Taliban militants since March 2009.

“It looks like a suicide bombing, but we’ll give the final opinion once initial investigations are completed,” district police chief Qazi Jamil said.

A health official at the Saidu Sharif hospital said one woman was among the dead.

Television footage showed the street littered with burned-out vehicles and rescuers carrying the injured and dead.

Swat is located 140 km north-west of Islamabad in the militancy-plagued Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The picturesque valley was once a popular tourist destination.

Thousands of Pakistani troops moved into the region in March last year to regain control from the Taliban. Heavy fighting left around two million people displaced and killed hundreds of Taliban fighters and soldiers.

Pakistan has announced victory over Islamist insurgents in Swat, but occasional attacks on civilian and official targets continue.

Thursday’s blast took place as locals were celebrating a festival organised to revive the region’s devastated tourism industry. The festival has attracted hundreds of tourists from across the country.

The bombing also took place as Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna was holding a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, in Islamabad.

Both were expected to discuss security issues and the possible resumption of a five-year peace dialogue, which was suspended after the 2008 terrorist attacks on the Indian financial hub of Mumbai.

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