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Deadly suicide attack in Pakistan

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Aftermath of the suicide attack in a cattle market in Peshawar

At least 12 people have been killed and about 35 injured in a suicide bomb attack near the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar, police say.

The blast ripped through a busy cattle market on the outskirts of the city.

The bomber appeared to have targeted a local anti-Taliban mayor, who died in the attack.

Islamist militants have unleashed a campaign of attacks in Pakistan in recent weeks in retaliation for an army offensive in South Waziristan.

Cars destroyed

The Taliban said they carried out the latest attack.

It appeared to target the mayor of Adizai, Abdul Malik, who was a vocal opponent of the militants. His home village is close to tribal areas where militants are active.

Map

He was seriously injured and later died in hospital.

Police officials told the BBC that Mr Malik was on his way to the city when he stopped at the market.

According to the officials, the bomber had been following Mr Malik in a van.

When Mr Malik left the vehicle the man rushed in and blew himself up.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad says the blast was so powerful all those nearby were killed, while several cars were also destroyed.

Local police said the mayor used to be a Taliban supporter but had then formed a tribal militia against the militants.

A senior regional official in Peshawar, Sahibzada Anis, said: "Malik had survived several attacks on his life in the recent past, since he turned against the militants.

"But today the militants have finally killed him," Mr Anis said.

Our correspondent says Mr Malik had been at the forefront of anti-Taliban activities in the sub-district of Adizai and his death is likely to strengthen the Taliban's control in the region.

Last month a massive blast at Peshawar's Peepal Mandi market killed 118 people.

The government blamed the attack on Pakistani Taliban, but the head of the group denied being behind it.



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