Third bomb attack in Pakistan in days wounds seven

r12.jpgKOHAT, Pakistan (Reuters) – Suspected Islamist militants set off a roadside bomb as a Pakistani military truck was passing on Tuesday, wounding seven people in the third bomb attack in the country in two days.

Pakistan was hit by a wave of bomb attacks last year and early this year, many of them by suicide bombers, but violence fell off sharply after a February election won by parties calling for talks to end Islamist militant violence.

Last Wednesday, 18 people were killed when missiles suspected to have been fired by a U.S. drone struck a house in the Bajaur region on the Afghan border where militants have been known to operate.

Since then, there have been three bomb blasts including a suicide attack on Sunday outside a military training centre in the northwestern town of Mardan that killed 13.

Tuesday’s blast was near a military headquarters in the northwestern town of Kohat.

“The bomb was planted on a bicycle and it wounded seven people including four paramilitary men,” said police official Ibrahimullah at the site.

There was no claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s blast, or one on Monday evening that killed three outside a mosque in Bajaur. But Pakistan Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in Mardan on Sunday.

Pakistan’s new government, sworn in at the end of March, has begun a policy of engagement, negotiating through tribal leaders to persuade militants to stop their attacks.

But that has raised concern among Pakistan’s allies with troops in neighboring Afghanistan who fear any peace pact on the Pakistani side of the border will enable militants to focus their attention on attacks in Afghanistan.

NATO’s commander in Afghanistan, General Dan McNeill, said this week he was sending reinforcements to the border with Pakistan in expectation that a peace deal on the Pakistani side would see a spike of violence on the Afghan side.

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