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10 troops die in raid

Kohat (Pakistan), Dec. 17: A suicide bomber killed 10 Pakistani military recruits in the northwestern town of Kohat today, the military said, the first major attack since emergency rule was lifted two days ago.

The bombing was near an army-run school where Islamist militants in recent months have made repeated attacks, which President Pervez Musharraf cited as among reasons for imposing a state of emergency on November 3.

On Saturday, hours after lifting emergency rule and restoring the Constitution, Musharraf said the government had “broken the back” of the militancy.

In today’s attack, nine soldiers were killed instantly and one died later in the hospital, a military official said. Three soldiers were wounded, two of them seriously. “The bomber was on foot and blew himself up as he got close to the soldiers who were returning from a football ground,” said military spokesman, Major-General Waheed Arshad.

Investigators later recovered the severed head and legs of the bomber. “He is clean-shaven and appears to be 19 or 20 years old,” a police official said. More than 400 people have been killed in suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan in recent months, most in the North West Frontier Province.

Many militants took refuge in remote northwestern area on the Afghan border after US-backed troops ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. They have been conducting raids into Afghanistan and Pakistan from their mountain strongholds.

Militants in North Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border, have announced a two-week ceasefire.

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