Pakistan suicide attack kills six: officials

APTOPIX Pakistan_Kand.jpg.crop_display.jpg

A suicide bomber blew himself up in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar on Wednesday, killing at least six people including a senior police officer, officials said.

The blast ripped through a congested part of the city, which lies close to Pakistan's lawless tribal areas and is frequently hit by bombings, littering the street with blood and body parts, witnesses said.

Police official Badshah Khan said the bomber, who was on foot, targeted the vehicle of senior investigator Hilal Haider, killing him and a number of his colleagues.

Another officer, Asif Iqbal, said there were six dead including four policemen.

Hospital officials and senior administration official Habibullah Arif said more than 30 people were wounded in the blast and some were in a critical condition.

Witness Amin Khan described the moment the bomber struck. "I was in a rickshaw, going to the local market to purchase tea for my shop," he said.

"Suddenly a deafening blast shook the area. My rickshaw was overturned. When I came out I saw smoke and dust had covered the blast site," he said.

Peshawar is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and a gateway to the semi-autonomous tribal belt along the Afghan border, where Al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists have strongholds.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the attack came as news of US President Barack Obama's re-election emerged.

Washington is a key focus for the anger of the Islamist militants, many of whom regard the Pakistani state and its representatives, including police officers, as treacherous collaborators.

During his first term as president, Obama ramped up the campaign of drone strikes in northwest Pakistan against militants Washington says are planning attacks against America and its forces in Afghanistan.

In a BBC opinion poll last week, Pakistan was the only nation where Obama's Republican rival Mitt Romney scored more highly than the president.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, a roadside bomb in the tribal district of Kurram killed a police official and wounded 14 other people, local administration official Shamshad Khan said.

Suicide and bomb attacks blamed on Islamist insurgents have killed more than 5,200 people across Pakistan since July 2007.

On Saturday a suicide bomber killed six people, including the head of a local police committee, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Buner district.

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