Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 10:33 UK

Pakistan suicide bomber kills four policemen in Peshawar

Police officers examine the wreckage of vehicles at the site of the blast
Police say the bomber may have been going for a more high profile target

At least four policemen have been killed after a suicide car bomber targeted a checkpoint in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, police say.

Civilians are reported to be among at least 10 people - including several policemen - injured in the bombing.

Senior police official Liaquat Ali said the attacker rammed his car into a police vehicle.

The blast highlights the threat of militancy despite army offensives in the country's tribal regions.

The army is attempting to flush out Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in the area.

Pakistan map

"The vehicle was coming from the tribal area. It was full of explosives," Mr Ali told the AFP news agency by telephone.

Police say that the officers killed were on "routine duty" when the bomber detonated explosives near the checkpoint.

Mr Ali said the attacker was apparently trying to make his way into the city but decided to set off his explosives when he was stopped.

Militant hub

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that police are relieved that what appeared to be a concerted effort to bomb a high-profile target was thwarted.

Our correspondent says that while militants are still striking in the north routinely, the frequency of their attacks is not the same as it was a few months ago.

No group has claimed Wednesday's attack, but the Taliban have carried out dozens of recent bombings.

The site of the suicide car bomb at a checkpoint in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar
Civilians were killed in the attack

Hundreds of people have been killed in militant attacks across Pakistan since the military launched operations against the Taliban last autumn. Peshawar has borne the brunt of this violence.

Peshawar is close to the Mohmand and Khyber regions, part of the semi-autonomous ethnic Pashtun tribal lands along the Afghan border which have become a global Islamist militant hub.

The security forces have launched several major offensives in the north-west over the past year, with some success in clearing out insurgent strongholds.

But the militants have fought back and carried out suicide and bomb attacks across the country, killing hundreds of people.

In a separate development, two teachers are reported to have been kidnapped by suspected militants in Mohmand on Wednesday, hours after four members of a government-backed militia were killed and another abducted in a clash in the same region.

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