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Latest in String of Attacks Kills at Least 11 in Pakistan

The latest blasts in a northwestern Pakistan city targeted a police station but also damaged a mosque. Authorities said at least 13 people died in Friday's attack in Peshawar, which continues the wave of violence sweeping the country. (Oct 16)

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By Karin Brulliard
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, October 17, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 16 -- In what has become a grim routine over the past two weeks, a militant attack on a police station in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed at least 11 people Friday, Pakistani authorities said.

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Officials in the city, which is in an insurgent-heavy frontier region, said a car loaded with explosives detonated outside the police station, crumbling parts of a nearby mosque and killing at least two children. It was the latest in a string of attacks on security and government forces, who are scrambling to contain an intensifying Islamist rebellion.

"Peshawar is always under threat," Sahibzada Anees, a provincial official, told reporters at the scene. "Security plans are being changed on an almost daily basis."

Authorities struggled throughout the day to determine how many people had been killed. The attack was so gruesome that, according to one television news reporter's dispatch, "some of [the dead] are just body parts. . . . It isn't decided if these can be counted as bodies or not."

Militant groups in Pakistan have been using increasingly varied methods to accomplish their deadly missions. Friday's assault initially appeared to have been carried out single-handedly by the driver who rammed the explosives-laden vehicle into a gate at the police-run Federal Investigation Agency -- a fairly traditional tactic in Pakistan.

Authorities later said that the car was followed by a motorcycle carrying a man and a woman. That man slammed the motorcycle into the vehicle, exploding it, while the woman fled and was shot at by police but managed to detonate her suicide vest, police said.

There was no immediate assertion of responsibility.

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