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Deadly Bomb Attack Rocks Northwest Pakistan

Military personnel secure the site of a suicide bomb attack in Lahore.

Military personnel secure the site of a suicide bomb attack in Lahore.

SAIDU SHARIF, Pakistan (RFE/RL) -- A suicide bomber today killed at least 13 people in Pakistan's troubled Swat Valley, raising fears of a new wave of violence by Taliban insurgents.

The bombing struck Saidu Sharif, a town on the southern outskirts of Swat's main city, Mingora, just a day after coordinated bomb attacks plunged the eastern city of Lahore into bloodshed.

"The suicide bomber was in a motorized rickshaw. He stepped out and was walking toward the security check post when security forces opened fire at him, causing his explosives to blow up. He did not reach his target," said Mohammad Mushtaq, a spokesman for the army-run Swat media center.

"So far 10 people have been killed, including four security officers."

The death toll has since risen to 13. More than 50 people were wounded in the attack.

A witness told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that children were among the dead.

"I heard an explosion and came out to see what had happened. I saw four dead security officers," the man said. "There were bodies of four more people in a vehicle, they were completely burnt. I also saw the bodies of an old man and two children. Later on they were transported to a hospital."

Return Of Terror

After a recent lull in violence, Pakistan's Al-Qaeda-backed Taliban have renewed assaults in retaliation for an army offensive against the insurgents' main stronghold, in the tribal region of South Waziristan along the Afghan border.

Today's bombing is the sixth this week in Pakistan and comes as Lahore residents bury the 55 victims from the March 12 attacks.

It is likely to refocus attention on security in the Swat Valley, a former tourist resort 120 kilometers northwest of Islamabad. Once favored for its pristine natural beauty and skiing, the region slipped out of Islamabad's control in July 2007.

The military took back control of the valley by mid-2009, but sporadic violence has continued.

RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal contributed to this report. With agency reports