Suicide bomber kills 19 in Peshawar bomb blast

A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a courthouse in Pakistan yesterday, killing 19 people in the latest attack by Islamist militants retaliating against an army offensive near the Afghan border.

The bombing was the seventh strike in less than two weeks in and around Peshawar, the largest city in the north-west. The attacks have killed more than 80 people.

The bomber, who arrived in a taxi, was being searched by police at the gate of the city's lower court when he detonated explosives.

The army launched its offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan in mid-October. It has retaken many towns in the region, but the militants say they avoided fighting and will now begin a guerrilla campaign.