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5 killed in attacks linked to Pakistan mosque siege

world Updated: Jul 10, 2007 16:13 IST

AFP
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A policeman and four civilians were killed in attacks on Wednesday in a Pakistani mountain region with links to the leaders of a besieged mosque in the capital, officials said.

The civilians were killed by a bomb blast targeting a police vehicle in the conservative but normally peaceful northwestern region of Swat, local police officer Saeed Khan told AFP.

A district police chief and his driver were also wounded in the blast, Khan said, adding that it was not clear whether a grenade was thrown at the vehicle or whether a roadside bomb went off.

Earlier a rocket was fired into a police station, killing a constable and injuring two others, officials said.

Swat is a stronghold of a banned extremist group linked to radical clerics at Islamabad's Red Mosque, which security forces have besieged after deadly clashes between Islamist students and security forces.

Sixteen people were killed in the fighting, including eight Islamist students.

The blast followed calls on a private Islamist FM radio station in the area to launching "jihad" (holy war) against government officials in retaliation for the mosque confrontation.

The organisation called Tehrik Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi was banned in 2002 by President Pervez Musharraf after it sent thousands of volunteers to Afghanistan to battle US forces in support of Taliban.