41 killed in latest jihadist attack in Pakistan

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The recent escalation continues. "Pakistan reels from fresh attack," from BBCNews, October 12:

At least 41 people have been killed in a suspected suicide car bombing in Pakistan’s Swat valley, officials say.

The explosion hit a security convoy in Shangla district – an area the military said it had retaken from militants.

It is the latest in a string of attacks and comes amid warnings of an offensive against militants in nearby South Waziristan, on the Afghan border.

On Saturday militants stormed the army headquarters in Rawalpindi. Pakistan vowed to hit back "imminently".

The Pakistani Taliban said it had carried out the attack in Rawalpindi, through a Punjab faction of the group.

Spokesman Azam Tariq said it was to avenge the recent killing of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud by a US drone.

Dozens hurt

The latest attack took place early in the afternoon in the town of Alpurai, in Swat valley in Shangla district.

Alpurai was not under Taliban control at the time of a major anti-Taliban offensive by the military in Swat valley earlier this year.

Security officials say a car blew up near a hospital in the market as a convoy of troops was passing by.

Dozens of people, including security personnel, are said to have been injured in the explosion.

"It appears to be a suicide attack," Reuters news agency quoted Shangla police official, Khan Bahadur Khan as saying.

"The bomber hit one of three military vehicles that were passing through the busiest market in the district," he said.

Witnesses said the area was strewn with debris. A military spokesman said several trucks were destroyed in the blast.

The bombing – the fourth major attack within a week – brings to over 100 the death toll in four days of militant attacks across Pakistan….

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