Premier’s aide escapes injury as five die in Pakistan bombing

A bomb attack targeting an aide of Pakistan’s prime minister has killed five people.

The official escaped unhurt from the attack, police said.

Hours later, gunmen shot and killed a secular anti-Taliban politician and his two aides on the outskirts of the city of Peshawar, police said.

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Yesterday’s two bombs exploded in the Shangla area of the city near the convoy of Amir Muqam, a cabinet aide and former parliamentarian.

The blast killed two police officers and three of his private guards.

A few hours later, it was still not clear whether both or one of them were suicide attacks.

Mr Muqam told reporters it was the sixth such attack against him in recent years.

He didn’t name the militants directly but said that “the terrorists” wouldn’t win.

“Such attacks can’t stop me from siding with the truth,” he said.

Shangla is part of the Swat Valley, which local Taliban militants captured before an army offensive drove them out in 2009. The militants have killed thousands of Pakistani civilians, security forces and government officials in a campaign of bombings and gun attacks they hope will bring down the state and allow them to impose their own extreme interpretation of Islamic law.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, Sunday morning commuters were targeted with two car bombs in Baghdad.

At least 21 people were reported to have been killed.

These blasts came a day after a senior US official wrapped up a three-day visit to Iraq to meet with top political leaders to discuss the security crisis in the vast Sunni-dominated province of Anbar.

The deadliest blast occurred at a bustling bus station in central Baghdad when an explosives-laden car exploded outside, killing at least nine people and injuring 16. Thousands of people use the bus station every day or pass through the area.

Another parked car bomb targeted a gathering of buses and taxis in Baghdad’s northern Hurriyah neighbourhood, killing four civilians and wounding 12.

In Aghanistan, Sunday also saw a Taliban suicide bomber riding a bicycle attack a bus carrying police recruits in eastern Kabul.

There, two people were killed and 20 others were wounded, according to local police sources.

One of those killed was a police officer and the other was a civilian employee of a police training centre, police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said.

The wounded included 14 passengers on the bus, including both police and civilian employees. Six civilian bystanders also were wounded.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.