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Pakistan suicide attack toll rises to 14

The death toll from a suicide bombing in Pakistan's garrison city of Rawalpindi has risen to 14, with another 18 people wounded, police said Tuesday.

"Fifteen people have been killed and 18 injured," said Rawalpindi regional police commander Nasir Durrani, including the suicide bomber in the death toll.

Police said late Monday that eight people were killed when a suicide bomber in a vehicle blew himself up outside a restaurant near a taxi stand in a crowded working class area of the city, which neighbours the capital Islamabad.

Officials said the bomber was probably deployed to attack a mass protest, which had been scheduled in Rawalpindi and Islamabad Monday, but was called off after the government vowed to reinstate the country's top judge.

Pakistan, a key US ally, has been has been hit by around 200 suicide and bomb attacks that have killed more than 1,600 people since government forces besieged radical gunmen holed up in a mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.

Much of the violence has been concentrated in northwest Pakistan, where the army has been bogged down fighting Taliban hardliners and Al-Qaeda extremists, who fled there after the 2001 US-led invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan.

Copyright 2009 AFP South Asian Edition
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP South Asian Edition
Date:Mar 17, 2009
Words:197
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