At least 40 killed in attack on Pakistan Arms Factory

15:02, 21 August 2008
World
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Two or more suicide attackers may have detonated the bombs

At least 40 people were killed and several others injured in twin suicide bomb explosions today at a weapons factory near Pakistan`s capital, Islamabad, police said. This is the second bomb attack in the country in three days, according to Bloomberg.

The bombs were detonated outside two gates, about 200 meters apart, of the government-run Pakistan Ordnance Factory in Wah town as the staff was leaving at the end of the morning shift at 2:30 p.m. local time, Senior Superintendent of Police Operations, Yasin Farooq, said by telephone. Two or more suicide attackers may have detonated the bombs, he said.

The factory in Wah, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Islamabad, manufactures infantry and artillery weapons, tanks, and mortar bombs for the country`s military, according to the company`s Web site. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, claimed they carried out today`s attacks, GEO Television reported, citing the group`s spokesman Maulvi Omar.

Today`s explosions came after a suicide bomb explosion in the northern city of Dera Ismail Khan killed 15 people on Aug. 19. Pakistani Taliban leaders claimed they carried out that attack, according to Dawn News TV.

Omar said today more attacks would take place unless the military operation in the tribal areas is stopped, GEO reported. Pakistani Taliban leaders threatened this month to carry out suicide attacks in major cities, including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, unless the military halts its offensive in the northwestern Swat Valley.

Combating Extremism

The government, led by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, says it is trying to combat extremism by using a combination of negotiation, economic and political development and the selective use of military force. Terrorist attacks killed more than 2,000 people in Pakistan last year.

The government of former President Pervez Musharraf blamed the attacks on militants opposed to his support to the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism. The coalition government will continue to fight terrorism, alliance leader Asif Ali Zardari said in a statement today.

Musharraf was forced to quit Aug. 18 by the four-party ruling coalition that took power in March after defeating political parties loyal to the former president a month earlier.

A dispute between the members of the ruling alliance over reinstating judges sacked by Musharraf last year has distracted the coalition government from tackling militancy in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

The army has been fighting since last year against supporters of Maulana Fazlullah, a pro-Taliban cleric, who wants to impose Islamic law in Swat, a once popular tourist destination about 250 kilometers (150 miles) from the capital.

Troops have killed 103 militants in Swat Valley since a two-month cease-fire broke down and fresh clashes began last month, the military said this week. The security forces have also been fighting militants in the tribal area of Bajaur.

Bloomberg

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