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Terror strikes foiled as Pak faces extremist backlash
K J M Varma in Islamabad | July 13, 2007 18:04 IST
Pakistan police on Friday detained three suspected suicide bombers and seized an explosive-laden car in the restive North West Frontier Province, foiling reprisal attacks by Islamic militants angered by the crackdown on Lal Masjid.
The three suicide bombers were held in Dera Ismail Khan while they were gearing up for attacks against the troops. The car was recovered from the outskirts of Dera.
Islamic militants have launched a spate of attacks in the province since the mosque operation that has left at least 30 people dead though security has been tightened across the country due to fears of extremist backlash.
Also a day after President Pervez Musharraf [Images] delivered a stern warning to the madrassas and mosques not to promote extremist activities, troops were deployed in and around Kanju, where a hardline cleric has called for suicide attacks against the military to avenge the bloody operation against the Islamabad mosque.
Maulana Fazarullah, who is related to Lal Masjid clerics Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi, had called for retaliatory attacks through his illegally run FM radio station in Swat.
The provincial Information Minister Asif Iqbal Daudzai has confirmed the deployment of troops.
However, the council of elders in Malakand region, where Swat is located, have asked the militants to lay down their weapons within four days, failing which the military would launch an operation against them.
Two suicide attacks were reported on Thursday in the province, a day after the mosque siege ended.
Asking the Pakistani people to overthrow Musharraf, Al Qaeda [Images] and the Taliban have urged attacks, including suicide bombings, against the government and the military.
But addressing the nation on Thursday evening, the General declared: 'Extremism and terrorism will be defeated in every corner of the country.'
Three police personnel were killed when two suspected suicide bombers rammed an explosives-laden car into a police vehicle in the Takhtaband bridge in North West Frontier Province.
An explosive device went off when a military convoy was passing through the Kabal area. However, no casualty was reported. Officials said it was one of the military convoys coming to the troubled Swat district.
In another incident, a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the political agent's office in the restive North Waziristan Agency's Miramshah area on Thursday, killing four people and injuring three others, officials said.
Political agent Pirzada Khan, who was in the office at the time, escaped unhurt.