Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Sunday, 30 August 2009 10:09 UK

Pakistan blast 'kills 14 cadets'

Police officers at the scene of a suspected suicide bomb attack, Mingora, 30 Aug 2009
The attack targeted recruits at a police station in the town of Mingora

A suspected suicide bomb attack in Pakistan's north-western Swat valley has killed at least 14 police recruits and injured others, officials say.

Disguised as a recruit, the suspected bomber walked into a police base where the cadets were being trained.

No-one has claimed the attack - the deadliest since the recent Pakistani army offensive there which officials said had driven out Taliban militants.

The Taliban have threatened to avenge the killing of their leader this month.

Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US drone attack.

Some two million people were displaced from the Swat valley when the three-month-long conflict was at its height. Isolated skirmishes continue. Residents began returning home last month.

Big blast

The explosion targeted recruits for a community police force as they trained in Mingora, the valley's main town, provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said.


"I'm told the bomber disguised himself as a recruit" says BBC's Orla Guerin

Reports from the area say there was a big blast followed by bursts of gunfire. A local hospital official said 14 bodies in police uniforms had been brought in.

Television footage from the scene showed bodies being recovered from outside the police base, which has been the target of previous attacks.

Security forces in Mingora were put on high alert and nearby shops and markets closed for business, officials said.

Responsibility for the latest bombing has not yet been claimed but BBC's Orla Guerin in Islamabad says suspicion is likely to fall on the Taliban, after new leader Hakimullah Mehsud vowed revenge for the death of his predecessor.

The attack came a day after the army said it had destroyed a major training camp for suicide bombers in the area.

After the blast, a local official said occasional incidents were to be expected but it was believed that the Taliban's back had been broken during the army's offensive.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani condemned the killings and ordered an inquiry into the attack, adding that the government was determined to carry on the fight against militancy.

"We will not allow the enemies of the country to succeed in their evil designs," he said in a statement.

On Thursday, 22 border guards were killed in a suicide bomb attack at a checkpoint in the Khyber Pass, on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.


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