13 killed in Pakistan, Taliban own bombing

Islamabad, Jan 20: At least 13 people, among them six soldiers, were killed Monday and 17 others injured in a suicide bombing attack on security forces in Rawalpindi city, for which the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility.

Police Superintendent Mian Maqbool said the attack took place in the morning in the Royal Artillery Bazaar, a residential and commercial area near the Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi, Xinhua reported.

Police Superintendent Potohar said six soldiers and seven civilians lost their lives in the attack, the Dawn online reported.

Shahidullah Shahid, spokesman of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, said the group carried out the attack in Rawalpindi, and added it was in response to the ongoing military operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the killing of Taliban leader Waliur Rehman.

The bombing was staged a day after the Pakistani Taliban attacked a convoy of security forces in Bannu district of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Sunday, in which more than 20 soldiers were killed and 38 others injured.

Police and rescue teams rushed to the site and shifted the bodies and injured people to nearby hospitals. Most of the injured are said to be in a critical condition.

The suicide bomber exploded his vest near a group of soldiers in the market, about 500 metres from the army headquarters.

Security forces cordoned off the area and launched an investigation.

The Monday blast took place hours before the cabinet meeting to review the national security policy and devise strategy against terrorism.

President Mamnoon Hussain and Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain strongly condemned the blast.

Pakistan Taliban said they would continue their attacks on security forces across the country.

IANS