Two killed in fresh violence in northwest Pakistan

February 23rd, 2008 - 5:24 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
Islamabad, Feb 23 (DPA) A security personnel and an Islamic militant were killed in fresh violence in Pakistan’s volatile Swat valley, the army said Saturday, a day after a roadside bomb explosion targeting a bus left 13 people dead. Two militants were arrested during a search and cordon operation that was carried out Friday night in two areas of the Swat district, a statement from the army’s Inter Services Public Relations department said.

The operation came hours after 13 people, including a bride, were killed when a roadside bomb struck a bus carrying a wedding party in the district’s Matta area. Some military officials had said initially that all victims were children, but later confirmed many of the killed had been were women.

The primary target of the remote-controlled IED (improvised explosive device) was a military convoy that survived the bombing because of a hi-tech jamming device installed in one of the vehicles. More than a dozen people were also injured in the attack.

Swat, in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, has seen a surge in violence since military commandoes stormed Islamabad’s Red Mosque on July 10, 2007. More than 100 people died in the action.

Since then pro-Taliban militants, led by local radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah, have carried out multiple suicide and roadside bombings targeting security forces in Swat.

The government of President Pervez Musharraf, a key US ally in the war against terrorism, sent troops in October to flush out the militants from the valley, where they had taken over several villages and three towns.

The fighting, which has killed hundreds of people on both sides so far, forced the militants to retreat to their hideouts in the nearby mountains. But they continue to carry out guerrilla raids on security forces.

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