A suicide car bomber in northwest Pakistan killed five people Monday,
including a prominent pro-government tribal leader as he traveled to a
peace committee meeting.
Local officials say the attack on a vehicle carrying tribal leader
Maulana Abdul Hakeem occurred near a police checkpoint outside the town
Analysts say Hakeem had been instrumental in brokering deals with the
government, allowing security forces access to the nearby Waziristan
tribal regions to target Taliban and al-Qaida militants.
In other violence Monday, one Pakistani soldier was killed and at least
five others wounded in a rocket attack on an army camp in Razmak in the
northwest. The military responded by firing heavy artillery, killing at
least 12 insurgents.
In the Orakzai region, also in the northwest, military helicopter
gunships pounded Taliban hideouts, killing at least six militants and
wounding several others.
The head of the U.N. Humanitarian Affairs office in Pakistan (Manuel Bessler) told VOA hundreds of families have been fleeing South Waziristan in anticipation of a new military offensive.
Government officials insist they are not about to launch any major
operation in the area, but the U.N. official said his office is ready.
Local media reports say military helicopters have dropped pamphlets
warning residents to leave.
Pakistani forces in the northwest made significant gains against
militants during an offensive in the Swat valley earlier this year. The
recent incidents of violence are seen as a response by militants to