21 soldiers killed in suicide attack in northwest Pakistan

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A Muhammad

Peshawar, Feb 10 (PTI) At least 21 soldiers werekilled and several others wounded when a suicide bomberdisguised as a schoolboy today blew himself up at the paradeground of a heavily guarded army centre in northwest Pakistan.

The bomber struck when soldiers were on parade at theground inside the Punjab Regimental Centre within thecantonment in Mardan city, 60 km northeast of Peshawar.

The powerful explosion, which occurred at 8.15 am, washeard from several kilometres away.

At least 21 soldiers were killed and about 20 morewere injured, police said.

The injured were taken to a nearby military hospital,where an emergency was declared.

Officials said several of the injured were in aserious condition.

Witnesses were quoted by TV news channels as sayingthat the young bomber was wearing a school uniform. A schoolrun by the army is located near the parade ground.

Security forces sealed the area after the blast andblocked all roads leading to the Punjab Regimental Centre.

Markets near the army centre were closed after theblast.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Such suicide attacks are usually blamed on the bannedTehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Taliban militants have launched at least two attackson this army centre in Mardan in the past.

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