Lower Dir suicide bombers may have targeted US convoy with insiders' assistance

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Islamabad, Feb.5 (ANI): Pakistani security officials are investigating the role of suspected insiders in the devastating bomb blast in Lower Dir in which three US soldiers were killed along with nine others, including four girl students.

Security officials are suspicious that an insider had provided the details of the movement of the US convoy, which also included Pakistani troops.

Meanwhile, over 35 suspects have been apprehended in connection with the bombing

"Concerned authorities are investigating whether the suicide bomber knew the soldiers would be passing through Shahi Koto town and which vehicle to target in the five-car convoy," said Naeem Khan, a local police official.

"We launched a massive search operation in the area yesterday, and now about 35 suspects are in our custody and we are questioning them in an effort to trace those who orchestrated the suicide attack," Khan added.

He said authorities have concluded that the blast was caused by a suicide car bomb, and not a roadside bomb detonated by remote control as previously reported.

Earlier, the United States clarified that the three Americans killed in the attack were US military trainers and not contractors working for the controversial private security firm Blackwater.

US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke rejected the Taliban's claims regarding the killed American soldiers being Blackwater operatives.

"They're (the Taliban) certain to say that. That's what they do. They're adept at propaganda and disinformation.But the facts are facts and when, and in the appropriate moment, after notification of next of kin and appropriate things, I'm sure their names and their exact rank will be publicly disclosed, as we always do. There's nothing secret about their presence there," Holbrooke said. (ANI)

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