Suicide Attack in Pakistan kills 8, Wounds Scores

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A suicide bomber on a motorcycle rammed a Pakistan Air Force bus Thursday, killing at least eight men and wounding about 40 in the latest in a wave of attacks targeting the country's military, officials said.

The attack occurred near an air base in Sargodha, about 125 miles south of the capital Islamabad, an air force spokesman said. Local police chief Hamid Mukhtar Gondal said the bus was destroyed and that investigators had collected body parts of the attacker.

Sahid Malik, an official at the air force's hospital in Sargodha, said the dead men were air force employees. Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad called the attack "an act of terrorism."

The bombing came just two days after a suicide attacker blew himself up at a police checkpoint near the army office of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi, a garrison city just south of the capital, killing seven.

There have been no claims of responsibility for this week's attacks, which have rattled a country wracked by a wave of Islamic militant violence.

Musharraf, a key U.S. ally, is under pressure from Washington to crack down pro-Taliban and al-Qaida militants hiding in the country's border regions near Afghanistan.

In the northwestern district of Swat, where recent clashes between security forces and supporters of a militant cleric have killed scores, fighting has resumed after a two-day lull.

An army helicopter attacked militants in the Sambad area of the mountainous region Wednesday after it came under fire. Eighteen militants were killed, including an aide to the hardline cleric, Maulana Fazlullah, said provincial home secretary Badshah Gul Wazir.

Early Thursday, militants attacked hilltop positions of security forces in the Khwaza Khela area, triggering a gunbattle, an official in the district's police control room said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

There was no immediate word on casualties. Swat lies about 80 miles northwest of Islamabad.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press

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