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Suicide car bomber attacks paramilitary camp in northwest Pakistan, killing 6 soldiers
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) ' A Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber rammed a car filled with explosives into a paramilitary camp in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing six soldiers in the second attack in as many days meant to avenge the killing of senior commander in a U.S. drone strike.
The blast caused a part of a building to collapse inside the Frontier Corps camp, which was located in Bannu town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said local police officer Tahir Khan. At least 19 soldiers were wounded in the attack, and rescue workers were searching for additional casualties, he said.
A Pakistani Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to The Associated Press. He said it was meant to avenge the death of commander Taj Gul in a U.S. drone strike in October in the South Waziristan tribal area, a key sanctuary for the militants.
Gul was the Pakistani Taliban's operational commander in South Waziristan and was responsible for many attacks against security forces.
Around three dozen Pakistani Taliban fighters armed with assault rifles attacked a paramilitary camp in Tank district near South Waziristan before dawn Friday, killing one soldier and kidnapping 15 others.
Ehsan, the Taliban spokesman, said Friday that attack was also meant to avenge Gul's death. The militants targeted the soldiers because of Pakistan's alliance with the United States, he said.
Ehsan pledged they would kill the kidnapped troops, saying "we are going to cut these soldiers into pieces one by one, and we will send these pieces to their commanders."
The Pakistani Taliban has waged a fierce insurgency in Pakistan over the past four years, killing tens of thousands of security personnel and civilians. Their aim is to topple the civilian government, partly because of its alliance with the U.S., and impose Islamic law throughout the country.
Pakistan has launched a series of military offensives against the Pakistani Taliban in the northwest along the Afghan border, including in South Waziristan.
Analysts say the operations, combined with hundreds of U.S. drone attacks, have contributed to a significant decline in violence in Pakistan this year.
The number of people killed in suicide attacks in Pakistan in the first 11 months of 2011 dropped almost 40 percent compared to the same period last year, according to data compiled by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies. Deaths from all attacks by Islamist militants fell nearly 20 percent.
But violence still takes a large human toll in the country in near daily attacks. More than 2,300 people were killed in militant attacks in Pakistan through November, according to the institute.
Mahsud reported from Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan.