Nine People Killed in Suicide Car Bomb in Pakistan

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A suicide car bomb targeting police killed at least nine people and wounded 31 others in a troubled northwestern Pakistani town on Thursday, police said.

"The bomber ... blew himself up when a police patrol went close to the car for a security check in Hangu town," senior local police official Abdul Rasheed told Agence France Presse.

"Nine people including three policemen were martyred and 31 wounded in the attack, which targeted the police. The injured include 12 women and four children."

Rasheed said the bomber was carrying some 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of explosives in his vehicle which he blew up in the middle of a densely populated area of Hangu, which lies some 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of Peshawar.

He added that 13 houses and shops collapsed from the impact of the blast.

Police spokesman Fazal Naeem also confirmed the attack and casualties, adding that "the blast created a 10-foot deep and 15-foot wide crater."

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the attack and "deplored the loss of lives and declared it an inhuman act", an official statement said.

Hangu has a history of sectarian clashes between Pakistan's majority Sunni Muslims and the minority Shiites and is located near the lawless tribal belt.

The area borders the deeply conservative tribal region of Kurram, a lawless region on the Afghan border where entrenched militants oppose jobs and education for women.

Taliban and Al-Qaida-linked militants attack daily across northwest Pakistan and the border tribal belt that Washington has branded the most dangerous place on Earth.

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