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Pakistan suicide attack in kills 13 in Swat Valley town

SAIDU SHARIF, Pakistan — In a renewed wave of violence Saturday, a suicide bomber on a motorized rickshaw killed 13 people at a security checkpoint, raising fears of the nation sliding back into relentless bloodletting.

The blast — the second major attack in Pakistan in less than 24 hours — occurred in the Swat Valley, where Taliban fighters battled government soldiers for months last year.

The attack in Saidu Sharif, Swat's administrative capital, also wounded 52. A day earlier, two suicide bombers killed 55 in coordinated explosions in the eastern city of Lahore.

No one has claimed responsibility for either attack, but suspicion quickly fell on the loose network of Islamist insurgents who have been fighting the U.S.-allied Islamabad government and who have stepped up attacks against security forces in recent days.

The bomber, driving a three-wheeled motorized rickshaw, targeted a roadblock manned by soldiers and police. The explosion sparked panic in the neighborhood, as soldiers in battle gear carried victims — injured and dead — through the narrow, bloody streets to get help.

In Lahore, meanwhile, funerals were being held Saturday for the dozens of people killed the day before.

Police official Chaudhry Shafiq said the death toll from that attack rose to 55 Saturday after 12 more people died overnight. About 100 people were wounded.

Pakistan suicide attack in kills 13 in Swat Valley town 03/13/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 13, 2010 10:15pm]
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