Suicide attacker wounds 2 soldiers in Pakistani controlled Kashmir

By Roshan Mughal, AP
Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bomb wounds 2 soldiers in Pakistani Kashmir

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan — A suicide bomber attacked an army vehicle in the Pakistani section of Kashmir on Saturday, wounding two soldiers, the military said.

The military said the soldiers survived the attack, correcting earlier reports from intelligence agents that the troops had been killed. Government official Sardar Khursheed said the attack was on the outskirts of Rawalakot town.

Islamist militants have carried out scores of attacks in Pakistan in recent months, but have rarely struck in Kashmir, which is claimed by both India and Pakistan. The Himalayan region has traditionally been home to militant groups that have focussed on attacking targets across the border in the India-held section of Kashmir, allegedly with the assistance of Pakistani authorities.

More than 500 people have been killed in attacks by Taliban and al-Qaida militants in Pakistan since mid-October, when the army launched a major offensive against the Pakistani Taliban’s stronghold of South Waziristan in the northwest.

The United States is also attacking militants in the northwest with missiles fired from unmanned drones based in Afghanistan.

On Friday, intelligence officials said that a Jan. 9 missile strike in the North Waziristan tribal region killed Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim. The FBI’s Web site lists him as a Palestinian with possible Lebanese citizenship. The Pakistani officials called him an al-Qaida member, but the FBI site says he was a member of the Abu Nidal Palestinian terrorist group.

U.S. officials did not confirm he was killed.

Rahim is wanted for his alleged role in the Sept. 5, 1986, hijacking of Pan American World Airways Flight 73 during a stop in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, according to the FBI site.

Another missile attack Thursday is believed to have targeted the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud. Intelligence officials have told The Associated Press they think he escaped the strike, but there continue to be local media reports he may have been killed or wounded.

Pakistan army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said Saturday they were investigating the reports.

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