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Pakistani police killed in suicide bomb attack

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A suicide bomber has killed at least 12 people in Pakistan's volatile northern tribal area on the border with Afghanistan, officials say.

The attacker rammed his explosive-laden car into a police vehicle travelling on a highway in the Khyber area.

Officials say that while most of the dead were policemen, civilians were also killed. Five people were injured.

No group has yet said it carried out the attack. The region is well known as a stronghold of militants.

They are mostly linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Officials said the policemen were on a routine patrol when the suicide bomber attacked them.

Several vehicles were damaged by the force of the blast.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan, in Islamabad, says the military has been conducting limited operations in various parts of Khyber for several months.

Officials say this has led to a marked decrease in militant attacks on Nato supply trucks to Afghanistan passing through this area.

A senior official of the Khyber administration told the BBC's Urdu service that the target of the attack appeared to be local law enforcement official Zurmat Khan, who was killed.

Mr Khan was leading a team of policemen on a routine patrol when the suicide bomber, who was on foot, dashed towards his vehicle and detonated the bomb.

Officials in Khyber said that Mr Khan had been receiving threats from suspected militants because of his role in government action against them.

They said that militants earlier launched an attack on his residence in the area but no-one was hurt.



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