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11 killed in Karachi raid aimed at cops

Islamabad, Feb. 13 (Reuters): An explosion targeting a bus full of Pakistani policemen killed 11 and injured 33 near the southern port city of Karachi today, officials said, in the latest incident of violence while the government and the Taliban are engaged in peace talks.

Many of the wounded policemen were badly hurt and in critical condition, said Dr Seemin Jamali, head of the emergency department at the city’s Jinnah Medical Centre.

It was unclear whether the blast was set off by a suicide bomber or a roadside bomb, said senior police officer Rao Anwar.

The bombing follows an attack on the home of a slain policemen that killed nine members of a pro-government militia yesterday, and a grenade attack on a cinema on Tuesday that killed 13. Both attacks were in the northern city of Peshawar.

None of the attacks has been claimed by the Taliban.

The violence comes amid peace talks between government and Taliban representatives aimed at trying to end Pakistan’s violent insurgency. Both sides are supposed to refrain from major attacks during the talks.

But many question whether the Taliban, who have repeatedly said they reject democracy and want Pakistan ruled according to a strict brand of Islamic law, will be able to strike a compromise with the government.

Others worry that there are too many militant groups in Pakistan to negotiate with. Several such groups, not included in the talks, have carried out bloody bombings of markets, churches, and mosques.

Cinema security

Police today asked cinema hall owners in Pakistan’s restive northwest to install CCTV cameras and ensure tighter security following two bombings in theatres that killed 18.

Superintendent of police Faisal Mukhtiar said it was up to cinema hall owners to decide whether to remain open but he had given them a month to put in place extra security.

 
 
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