ISLAMABAD – At least 35 people died Saturday in an attack in north-western Pakistan claimed by Taliban insurgents who targeted a security post and an adjoining civilian compound.
The post was jointly manned by the military and Frontier Constabulary, a special police force operating primarily in areas just outside the restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
Nine army soldiers and four Frontier Constabulary personnel were killed, an army official said, adding that two of the attackers wore explosives-laden jackets.
In the civilian compound, the assailants killed 10 members of a family, the official said. The dead included three women and three children.
He said 12 militants were also killed in the pre-dawn attack that lasted several hours in the remote area of Sarai Naurang in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan took responsibility for the raid, saying the rebels had dispatched four suicide bombers.
"The attack has been carried out to avenge the recent killing of two Taliban commanders in a US drone strike in the Waziristan tribal region," Ehsan said by phone.
Militants accuse the military of supporting Washington's drone war. Islamabad rejects the allegations, describing the aerial strikes as illegal violations of its sovereignty.
The attack in Sarai Naurang came less than 24 hours after a suicide bombing elsewhere in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa killed at least 28 people and wounded dozens.
Police in Hangu town said the attacker detonated his explosives as worshippers left two mosques after Friday prayers. Most of the victims were Shiite Muslims.
Hangu has a history of sectarian violence between the majority Sunnis and minority Shiites.
Distributed by MCT Information Services