Suicide bomber kills 2 in northwestern Pakistan

Mar 12, 2013, 7:47 AM EDT

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up near a police van in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least two people, police said.

Local police official Zaheer Khan said 10 people were also wounded in the attack in the district of Bannu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan. Initial reports suggested the attacker was on foot and targeted a police van near a police station, Khan said.

Khan said rescuers transported the dead and wounded to a nearby hospital, where some of the injured were listed in critical condition.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but suspicion fell on Pakistani Taliban who often target police and security forces deployed there. The district of Bannu is located just outside the North Waziristan tribal region where several Pakistani, Afghan and al-Qaida-linked militant groups are based.

In a separate incident, a bomb disposal expert died Tuesday while defusing a roadside bomb in the northwestern city of Peshawar, senior police official Javed Khan said. He said it was unclear who had planted that bomb, and officers were still investigating.

Meanwhile, gunmen shot and killed a senior official of the Election Commission of Pakistan in the southwestern city of Quetta on Tuesday, the city's deputy police chief Fayaz Sumbal said. He said the slain official, Zia Ullah, was driving through the city in his car at the time.

No one claimed responsibility for the assassination. It was the first such attack against officials from the ECP ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, which are hugely significant for Pakistan because they will mark the first time a civilian government has completed a full five-year term and transferred power through the ballot box.

In Pakistan, past governments have been ousted in military coups or dismissed by presidents allied with top generals.


Associated Press Writer Abdul Sattar contributed to this report from Quetta.