Suicide bombers in Pakistan's capital have attacked an Islamic
university, continuing a wave of deadly assaults seen as retaliation
for the army's new offensive against the Taliban.
Pakistani officials say the blasts at the International Islamic
University in Islamabad killed at least six people, including two
bombers. The explosions hit a faculty building and a women's cafeteria.
At least 20 people were wounded, most of them female students, who make
up nearly half of the university's student population. The university
is also popular with foreigners.
Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Tuesday the bombers are neither friends of Islam nor Pakistan.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but
Malik said all terrorist attacks in Pakistan lead back to South
Waziristan, where the military is carrying out its anti-Taliban
Pakistani security officials Tuesday said they were repelled from the
key town of Kotkai in South Waziristan after coming close to taking
control of it.
The army says troops have killed nearly 100 militants since the operation began Saturday.
There is no independent confirmation of the army's or the militants'
accounts of the fighting because no journalists are traveling with the
Pakistani military and the region is extremely dangerous for outsiders.
Pakistani army commanders say some 30-thousand troops are battling
about 10-thousand militants in South Waziristan, including foreigners.
They say they expect the offensive to last six to eight weeks, before
winter weather makes fighting difficult.
Officials say more than 100-thousand civilians fled South Waziristan
before the assault, and that thousands more left their homes in the
past few days.
Many schools in Pakistan closed this week, fearing retaliatory violence stemming from the offensive.
The United Nations refugee agency says it has begun distributing non-food relief items to the displaced.
A spokesman for the agency (Andrej Mahecic)
said humanitarian aid will need to be extended to hospitals, schools
and other public facilities that will come under strain from the large
influx of people. A spokesman for the World Health Organization (Paul Garwood) says health supplies in the area already are inadequate.
Authorities blame extremists in the Waziristan region for attacks
across the country that killed more than 175 people in the last two