PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A blast early today killed two police officers just hours after a suicide bomber killed 19 people outside a courthouse in northwestern Pakistan.
The bombings brought to eight the number of militant attacks in less than two weeks in and around Peshawar, the largest city in the northwest and the main gateway to the al-Qaida and Taliban-infested frontier region. The attacks have killed more than 80 people.
Just after midnight, a remote controlled bomb destroyed a police vehicle, killing two officers and wounding four others, said city police Chief Liaquat Ali Khan.
On Thursday, a man who arrived by taxi was being searched by police officers at the gate of the city's lower court when he detonated explosives on his body, government official Sahibzada Anees said.
Several damaged motorbikes were strewn about the site, on the main Khyber Road, and firefighters sprayed water on a charred, smoking white car.
The army launched its offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan in mid October. It has retaken many towns in the region, but the militants say they avoided fighting and will now begin a guerrilla campaign.
The United States has welcomed the offensive but wants the army to do more against the insurgents in the area blamed for violence across the border in Afghanistan.
Since the beginning of October, more than 400 people have been killed in bombings and militant raids on government, civilian and Western targets in the country, most of them in the northwest.
The explosion at the courthouse came hours after missiles fired from a suspected U.S. drone killed three suspected militants in Shana Khuwara village in North Waziristan, another region close to the Afghan border region where al-Qaida and Taliban hold sway. The missiles hit a house owned by a local tribesman, two intelligence officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.