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10 killed in Taliban attack near Pak military headquarters

January 20, 2014 12:59 IST

At least 10 people, including five soldiers, were killed on Monday in a Taliban suicide attack at a market close to Pakistan's military headquarters in Rawalpindi, a day after one of the deadliest attacks on security forces killed 20 troops.

The suicide bomber, who was riding a cycle, blew himself up after he was intercepted. Mian Maqbool, senior superintendent of police, operations, Rawalpindi confirmed the death toll and said the dead included five army personnel and five civilians.

Eighteen people were injured in the attack and have been shifted to various hospitals including the Combined Military Hospital, he said.

The blast took place in RA Bazar. According to Maqbool, the suicide bomber was between 18 and 20 years of age.

The intensity of the blast shattered glass windows in the area. Security was put on high alert throughout the area after the blast.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing. Spokesman for the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan  Shahidullah Shahid said the group had carried out the attack in Rawalpindi in response to the ongoing military operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the killing of the militant leader Waliur Rehman.

Rehman was killed in a United States drone strike mid last year.      President Mamnoon Hussain strongly condemned the blast.

Monday's attack came a day after a blast in the cantonment in Bannu district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that killed 20 soldiers and injured 30 others.  That attack was also claimed by the TTP with its spokesman saying the group's onslaught on security forces would continue.

Image: A policemen cordons off the site of a suicide blast in Rawalpindi

Photograph: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

Snehesh Alex Philip in Islamabad