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Bomb Attack On Pakistani Air Force Bus Kills 13

The site of the August 12 bridge blast in Peshawar
PESHAWAR -- Thirteen people have been killed and 10 wounded in a bomb attack on an air force bus in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, police said.

There was no claim of responsibility, but Islamist militants based on the Afghan border have been blamed for a series of attacks on security forces over the past year.

The attack followed days of fighting, including air strikes, between militants and security forces in the Bajaur region, a militant hot spot north of Peshawar. About 150 militants, including a senior Al-Qaeda member, have been killed.

The August 12 blast took place on the outskirts of Peshawar, the provincial capital, when the bus drove over a bridge on its way to the city.

"Apparently it was an improvised explosive device that hit the bus," Northwest Frontier Province police chief Malik Naveed Khan told Reuters.

Khan said the dead included air force personnel and civilians.

A Reuters reporter at the scene said the bus had burned through and a hole blasted in the bridge.

Since July 2007, Pakistan has seen a wave of militant violence in which hundreds of people have been killed, including many members of the security forces.

Violence subsided a coalition government led by the party of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was formed after February elections and opened negotiations through intermediaries with militants.

But the lull ended and militants stepped up attacks after their top leader, Baitullah Mehsud, suspended talks in June.