THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Blast kills 18 at Pakistan police residences

By Salman Masood
New York Times / September 8, 2010

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A powerful blast ripped through a residential compound for police officials and their families in Pakistan’s restive northwest last evening, killing at least 18 people, including children, officials said.

It was the latest in a wave of attacks at a time when the Pakistani government is trying to ward off unrest stemming from widespread anger and despair over the devastation from monsoon-driven flooding, the worst in the country’s history.

Fifty people were wounded in the bombing, several of them critically, and rescue workers were searching for several dozen others trapped under the rubble of collapsed homes. The explosion occurred around the time that Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan break their daily fast with an evening meal.

Police officials said they were investigating whether the blast had been caused by a suicide bomber or a planted device. The Pakistani news media reported that it had been a car bomb. There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

The attack occurred in Kohat, a garrison town, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. It lies near the semiautonomous tribal regions that have long served as a haven for Taliban militants. The attack was the latest in a string of lethal militant strikes on security and police targets in Pakistan’s northwest.

Just a day earlier, a suicide bomber killed 19 when he struck a police station in Lakki Marwat, in the same province. Last week, militants attacked Shiite Muslims in the eastern city of Lahore and in the southwestern city of Quetta.

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