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Suicide Car Bomber Kills Eight Pakistani Soldiers


WANA, Pakistan (Reuters) -- A suicide bomber rammed a car into a Pakistani paramilitary checkpost in the South Waziristan region, killing eight soldiers, the military said.

The attack near the Afghan border came two days after suspected U.S. missile strikes in the ethnic Pashtun tribal regions of South and North Waziristan killed about 20 people, including militants.

The attack was on a checkpost of the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC), about 35 kilometers west of Wana, the main town in the region which is a sanctuary for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

"It was suicide attack. The bomber drove his explosive-laden car into the FC checkpost," said military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas. "We have confirmed reports of eight deaths."

Mounting violence in nuclear-armed Pakistan has raised concern about prospects for the important U.S. ally whose help is seen as vital in stabilizing neighboring Afghanistan.

The violence has also unnerved investors, compounding an economic crisis that looks set to force the country to agree to International Monetary Fund help.

Reprisal Attacks Threatened

Pakistani Taliban militants threatened on November 1 to carry out attacks in response to missile strikes by U.S. drone aircraft.

Frustrated by an intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan, U.S. forces have carried out about 15 missile strikes and one ground troop incursion into Pakistan since the begining of September.

A mid-level Al-Qaeda leader, identified as Iraqi Abdur Rehman, who was also known as Abu Akash, was believed to be was among up to 20 people killed in a strike in North Waziristan on October 31, intelligence agency officials said.

A short time later, one person was killed and one wounded in a missile strike in Wana. A Pakistani Taliban commander, Maulvi Mohammad Nazir, was slightly hurt in that attack, an intelligence agency official said.

Pakistan, which is also battling militants on its side of the border, strongly objects to the U.S. strikes.

It says the attacks are a violation of its sovereignty and undermine efforts to isolate the militants and rally public opinion behind the unpopular campaign against militancy.

The government summoned the U.S. ambassador on October 29 to demand that the strikes be stopped.

The United States has shrugged off Pakistani protests. It says the attacks are needed to protect U.S. troops in Afghanistan and kill Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants who threaten them.
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