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17 killed in Pak suicide attack

world Updated: Sep 06, 2010 16:57 IST

A suicide bomber rammed his car into a police station in northwest Pakistan on Monday killing at least 17 people, police said, in the third in a string of attacks by al Qaeda- and Taliban-linked militants over the last week.

An official said the death toll could rise as the police station had collapsed after the blast and workers were trying to rescue people trapped in the debris.

The recent attacks ended a relative lull in militant violence over the past month, which has seen the worst flooding in Pakistan's history, and have added to pressure on a government struggling to cope with the crisis. Nearly 100 people were killed last week in suicide bombings on processions of minority Shi'ite Muslims in the eastern city of Lahore and southwestern city of Quetta.

The latest attack took place in the town of Lakki Marwat.

"Nine policemen and eight civilians were killed," police official Asghar Islam told Reuters by telephone. Another police official said some children were also among dead as the bomber also struck a school van before hitting the rear wall of the police station.

He said 34 people, including 20 policemen, were wounded.

The Pakistani Taliban, who are now also seen as an increasing threat to the United States, claimed responsibility for attacks in Lahore and Quetta.

On Friday, the Taliban also threatened to launch attacks in the United States and Europe "very soon", two days after Washington added the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Taliban Movement of Pakistan, to its list of "foreign terrorist organisations".

Aside from its battles against homegrown militants, Pakistan is under US pressure to tackle Afghan Taliban fighters who cross the border from Pakistan's lawless tribal areas to attack US-led NATO troops.