Suicide bombers kills 23 in Pakistan

A pair of suicide bombers attacked a top army officer in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta today, missing him but killing his wife. At least 22 others died, including several guards, a senior officer and two children, officials said.

Police said they were investigating whether the strike was in revenge for the recent arrests in Quetta of three top al-Qa'ida suspects, an operation that was assisted by the CIA.



But within hours, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and a spokesman for the group said Brig. Khurram Shahzad, the deputy head of the region's Frontier Corps, was targeted because of an incident several months ago that left five people dead at a checkpoint in the city.



In Wednesday's blasts, the first attacker detonated his vehicle next to a group of Frontier Corps officers close to Shahzad's house. Hurling grenades, the second attacker than stormed the house and blew himself up inside it, police officer Naseer Ahmed Kurd said.



Police officer Hamid Shakil said at least 23 people were killed and more than 60 were injured.



Two of the dead were children traveling in a rickshaw. A colonel in the corps was also killed, he said.



Shakil said one of the suicide bomber was carrying an identity card showing him to be a 21-year-old Afghan refugee.



The bombing comes just days after Monday's disclosure of the arrests of the three al-Qa'ida suspects in the city. The Pakistan army statement announcing it had stressed the level of CIA involvement — a possible sign of an upswing in cooperation between two uneasy anti-terror allies after the rancor surrounding Osama bin Laden's killing.



American officials praised the operation, saying the detention of the most senior militant — Younis al-Mauritani — was a significant achievement. The Frontier Corps took part in the operation.



"This attack was maybe in reaction to the recent arrests, but we are investigating," police officer Hamid Shakil said of the Wednesday blasts.



Islamist militants are seeking to topple Pakistan's Western-allied leaders and take over the country.



Allied to the insurgents fighting US forces across the border in Afghanistan, they have attacked hundreds of government, police, army and civilian targets since 2007, when the violence began in earnest. Many thousands have been killed, and Pakistani authorities have struggled to counter the threat.



Quetta is a dangerous city, and is thought to be home to al-Qa'ida and Taliban leaders. It lies close to the border with southern Afghanistan, the heart of the insurgency in that country. It is also wracked by separatist violence, but those rebels have tended not to deploy suicide bombers.



Pakistan didn't say when al-Mauritani and the two other al-Qa'ida operatives were arrested but a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, has said the arrest took place in the past two weeks.



The unusual announcement about the cooperation between the CIA and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency appeared aimed at reversing the widespread perception that ties had been badly damaged by bin Laden's death.



The Pakistanis accused the Americans of violating their sovereignty with the bin Laden raid, while Washington was angry the terror leader had been found in a house in a military garrison town in Pakistan.



US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday praised Pakistan for al-Mauritani's arrest.



"It's a tribute to the Pakistanis, who worked with us on this effort to be able to go after him," Panetta told reporters, adding that he assumes the US will ask the Pakistani authorities for permission to interrogate the suspect.

AP

News
Alex Salmond said he accepted 'the democratic verdict of the people'
newsSNP leader says Scotland must move forward as 'one nation'
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Supply Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: Randstad Education can provide you wit...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed Randst...

Sessional ICT Teacher - GCSE

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ICT teacher job in Humberside. ...

Year 6 Teacher - January start

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week