PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — The death toll from a series of bomb attacks in northwest Pakistan has risen to 15, officials said.
More than 100 people were also wounded in the cities of Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan, sparking widening fears of mounting militant revenge for Pakistan’s latest offensive against Taliban fighters in the region.
A policeman and a civilian died overnight in hospital, raising the death toll in the attacks to 15, police and hospital officials told AFP.
In Peshawar, bombs planted in two motorcycles exploded in quick succession, killing eight people and wounding around 100 more — 10 of them seriously.
Shortly afterwards, a suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into a police checkpoint on the outskirts of the city, killing three people and injuring 15 people.
In the fourth attack, four people were killed and 13 wounded when a suicide attacker exploded a rickshaw near a police checkpoint in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Peshawar.
Dera Ismail Khan and Peshawar lie on the fringes of Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, where Washington says Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants have carved out safe havens to plot attacks on the West.
A Pakistan Taliban spokesman, who claimed responsibility for a deadly attack in Lahore on Wednesday, has warned of more “massive attacks” in retaliation for Islamabad’s ties with Washington and its northwest offensive against militants.
The gun, grenade and bomb attack in Lahore was the third deadly assault to rock Pakistan’s cultural capital in three months.
About 300 people were wounded when a van packed with nearly 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosives levelled a police building and damaged the provincial headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Pakistan launched a massive operation against the Taliban in the northwest last month and claims to have killed more than 1,200 militants, but that around 15,000 soldiers are still fighting 1,500-2,000 extremists in the Swat valley.