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US warning in Pak bombing

Peshawar, May 15 (AP): A suicide bomber with a warning to spies for America taped to his leg attacked a crowded restaurant today near the Afghan border, killing at least 26 people days after a relative of the Taliban’s slain commander was arrested there, officials said.

The explosion in Peshawar deepened instability in a country still reeling from deadly political riots over the weekend in Karachi.

The suicide attack, while not directly related to that unrest, was an indication that the war in Afghanistan between Islamic militants and Nato forces is spilling across the border.

Provincial police chief Sharif Virk said a message scrawled on brown parcel tape, wrapped around the bomber’s severed leg, said spies for the US would meet the same fate as those killed in the blast and included the Persian word “Khurasan” — often used in militant videos to describe Afghanistan.

The restaurant’s owner, killed in the bombing, was an Afghan with ties to an anti-Taliban warlord. The restaurant, in the four-storey Marhaba Hotel, was popular with many Afghan people.

Two security officials said a close relative of slain Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah was arrested in the restaurant a few days before today’s attack.

They declined to identify the relative or say whether the arrest had helped the US military in southern Afghanistan over the weekend track down and kill Dadullah.

Javed Iqbal Cheema, a top Pakistani counterterrorism official, said at a news conference in Islamabad that he did not think the restaurant bombing was linked to Dadullah. “I would only say that Dadullah was killed in Afghanistan, and Pakistan did not provide any intelligence on Dadullah,” he said.

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