ISLAMABAD: A car bomb destroyed an Internet cafe and tore through a bus carrying handicapped children in northwestern Pakistan yesterday, killing at least 11 people and wounding many more, police said.
Elsewhere in the troubled region, an apparent US missile strike hit a Taliban training camp, killing 29 militants, while Pakistani troops killed dozens of Taliban in their bid to reconquer the Swat Valley, officials said.
Violence is engulfing Pakistani territory along the Afghan border as American and allied forces crank up the pressure on Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants entrenched in the forbidding and barely governed mountains and valleys.
Washington and other nations are pouring in billions of dollars in aid and military assistance to prop up the pro-Western government in Islamabad, which yesterday sought to allay concerns that its nuclear weapons could fall into extremist hands.
The car bomb devastated a street in the main northwestern city of Peshawar yesterday afternoon as it was busy with shoppers, traffic and worshippers heading to mosques to pray.
Television images showed several vehicles burning fiercely and a stricken white-and-green bus that had been dropping handicapped children at their homes around the city.
All eight students still on board were injured, one seriously, along the driver and an assistant, medics and police said. Four other children and seven adults were killed, and dozens more were injured, they said.
Safwat Ghayur, a senior police official, said one of a string of shops wrecked by the blast was an Internet cafe – a favorite target for violent extremists in Pakistan who consider the Web a source of moral corruption.
In the latest strike, Pakistani officials said several missiles hit a religious school and a nearby vehicle yesterday morning near Mir Ali, a town in the North Waziristan tribal region.
Two intelligence officials, citing reports from agents in the field, said 29 people were killed, including four foreign militants, and dozens more were wounded.
The identity of the victims was not immediately clear, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly to the media.
– With input from agencies