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7 dead in blast near Pakistan army HQ

A suspected suicide bomber blows himself up near President Musharraf's army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

world Updated: Oct 30, 2007 15:23 IST
Kamran Haider

A suicide attack killed at least seven people, including the bomber, less than a kilometre from Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's army headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, police said.

Three policemen and three passersby were among those killed, while 11 people were wounded in the blast, city police chief Saud Aziz said. The policemen were manning a checkpoint on a road leading to the army headquarters.

"Our policeman challenged the attacker who exploded himself near their picket," Aziz said. "The police were the target."

Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim Khan said General Musharraf was safely in his office some two km away at the time of the blast.

"I could see several scattered body parts," a witness, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the location, told Reuters.

"The blast took place near the house of the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee," Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said.

U.S. ally Musharraf has survived at least three assassination attempts -- two in December 2003, and one in July as his plane took off from Rawalpindi's airport.

Suicide and roadside bomb attacks on security forces have multiplied since commandos stormed the Red Mosque in the capital, Islamabad, in July to crush a Taliban-style movement. More than 100 people were killed in the fighting.

The security situation in the country has continued to deteriorate, and scores of people have been killed in fighting between security forces and militants in the scenic valley of Swat in North West Frontier Province during the past few days.