Swat, Lahore blasts claim 71 lives (Third Lead)

March 13th, 2010 - 6:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, March 13 (IANS) A suicide bomber targeted a security checkpost in a crowded area in Pakistan’s Mingora town in the restive Swat Valley Saturday, killing at least 14 people and wounding 52, a day after twin blasts claimed 57 lives in Lahore.
Three security personnel were among those killed in the blast in Mingora, Swat’s largest city.

Swat police chief Ghulam Farooq told reporters that the blast occurred when a suicide bomber who was walking towards a crowded court building was challenged by the security forces.

“The security forces opened fire at him and the bomber detonated his explosives,” Online news agency quoted Farooq as saying.

The checkpost went up in flames after the blast and thick smoke was billowing from the area.

Television footage showed several vehicles burning as rescue workers were putting victims into ambulances. A nearby public library and a hotel were also damaged.

Among the victims were two policemen and eight civilians.

Officials said they had found the legs of the bomber, adding that about 15 kg of explosives were used in the attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack caused panic in Mingora and hotels and shops shut down.

The district courts and the government circuit house, currently occupied by the army, are located a short distance from the site of the blast.

Pakistan has been rocked by a series of terror attacks since the military launched a massive operation against Taliban strongholds in the North West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in June last year. Hundreds of people have died in these attacks.

On Friday, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the Lahore cantonment, killing 57 people.

Nine security personnel were among those killed in the suicide bombings that wreaked havoc in the cantonment area, injuring 136 people.

According to police, two suicide bombers blew themselves up near security forces’ vehicles in the RA Bazaar in the southern part of the cantonment, killing 57 people.

“The terrorists apparently changed their modus operandi in the…incident, as two suicide bombers carried out the blasts,” The News reported Saturday of the worst terrorist incidents in the city.

“An interval of three minutes between the two attacks was a tactic devised by the terrorists to bring in more and more people to the site,” a security official said.

Late on Friday, seven low-intensity blasts spread panic in Lahore and kept the police on their toes for over eight hours.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have strongly condemned the Mingora and Lahore blasts and expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives and property.

In separate messages, they expressed their resolve not to be deterred by such acts of wanton terror, saying the government remains committed to eliminating extremists and terrorists.

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