Two successive suicide bomb blasts hit the central Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi, killing at least 24 and wounding more than 60 early Sept. 4. The first bomber detonated his exposives on a bus carrying government workers. Minutes later, a motorcycle bomb exploded in a nearby market. “Today’s attack was in the heart of the high security zone,” said Ijaz-ul Haq, religious affairs minister. “This cannot be allowed to go on and measures have to be taken to ensure political stability.” Brigadier Javed Cheema, interior ministry spokesman, said “both suicide blasts are interlinked and acts of the same network” with “tentacles” extending from Pakistan’s tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan. (AlJazeera, Sept. 4)
The attacks came the day after Pakistan government released at least 100 members of the Masood tribes arrested by the army in the Wana-Tank Sharah region of South Waziristan in the wake of the abduction of 150 security personnel by local militants. Authorities said the tribesmen were released on a request of the Grand Tribal Jirga or tribal assembly as a goodwill gesture.
The security personnel were kidnapped by local militants late last week when they were proceeding towards Ladda from Wana in a convoy. The commander of the militant group Wana Baitullah Mashood claims that the number of security personnel kidnapped was around 300. (Hindustan Times, Sept. 4)
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