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Page last updated at 08:58 GMT, Saturday, 13 March 2010

Suicide bomber in rickshaw hits Pakistan checkpoint

 Pakistani soldier and local residents carry an injured policeman in Saidu Sharif. Photo: 13 March 2010
Police officers, soldiers and civilians were injured in the blast

At least 10 people have been killed by a suicide bomber in a rickshaw at a security checkpoint in north-west Pakistan, police say.

At least 37 people were wounded by the explosion near Mingora, the main city in Swat Valley.

It comes a day after twin suicide attacks in the eastern city of Lahore killed 54 people and injured about 100.

It follow threats by Taliban militants to deploy thousands of suicide bombers in retaliation for an army offensive.

The latest attacks raise fears that militants may now have gone on the offensive after a relative lull in violence in the region.

'Burned to death'

The bomber in Saturday morning's attack was trying to get into a courthouse in the town of Saidu Sharif, police said.

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"He was trying to enter the building and blew himself up after being stopped by police," Qazi Jamil told AFP news agency.

Many of the victims were civilians, officials said.

An eyewitness was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying that he saw "at least five people, including some women, who burned to death".

The blast destroyed several vehicles and shattered windows in nearby buildings.

'Panic'

The Pakistani army launched a major offensive in Swat last year after peace agreements with local militants collapsed.

The area has been largely peaceful since then.

In Lahore, the bombings on Friday targeted military vehicles as they drove through a crowded area.

The death toll was raised after several people died of their injuries overnight.

Also on Friday, a series of low-intensity night-time blasts in the city, while causing few injuries, created considerable panic in a population expecting the next attack to come at any time, the BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad says.

On Monday, Taliban militants destroyed a building used by intelligence services in Lahore, killing 13 people.

In the last six months, hundreds of civilians have been killed in militant attacks across the country.



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