A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday in a market in northwest Pakistan crowded with shoppers ahead of a Muslim holiday, killing 12 people, including a mayor who once supported but had turned against the Taliban.
In the heavily guarded capital, police shot and killed another suicide bomber before he was able to detonate his explosives at a checkpoint.
The incidents underscore the difficulty of combating militancy in Pakistan, where the Taliban have carried out a series of attacks in recent weeks. The militants have said the assaults are meant to avenge a government offensive in South Waziristan, the main Taliban and al-Qaida sanctuary in the country.
The suicide blast hit the town of Adazai, about 10 miles south of the main northwestern city of Peshawar.
The bomber hit as shoppers thronged a market where goats were being sold to celebrate the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid, killing the Adazi mayor, Abdul Malik, and 11 others, including a young girl, said Sahibzada Anis, the top official in Peshawar.
"That place turned into hell where the dead and injured were lying everywhere, and blood and flesh were spread around," witness Khan Zamir said.
Twenty-five people were wounded, several critically, police officer Abdul Sattar Khan said.
Malik, the mayor, had once been a Taliban supporter but later switched sides and formed a local militia to help fight the militants. He had survived several attacks on his life in the recent past, said Anis.
A purported Taliban commander claimed responsibility.