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Pakistan ex-interior minister escapes attack

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The bomber struck when a security convoy escorting political leaders left a rally venue in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [AFP]A suicide attack has killed a police officer and wounded eight others, including a local politician, in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.

Friday's attack occurred as the former provincial chief minister, Aftab Sherpao, returned with his son and another politician from a rally on the outskirts of Shabqadar, a town 35km northeast of the city of Peshawar.

Police said the bomber struck when the security convoy escorting the political leaders left the rally venue.

"A policeman was killed and eight others were wounded, including the provincial assembly member Muhammad Ali Khan, in the suicide attack," Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's information minister, told the AFP news agency.

"The lawmaker is out of danger and being shifted to the provincial headquarters in Peshawar."

A local leader of the Pakistani Taliban group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack.

"We made this attack because Aftab Sherpao has co-operated with the government for an operation against us in the tribal areas," Omer Khalid, a local Taliban leader, told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Fighters have killed more than 4,900 people across Pakistan since government troops raided an extremist mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.


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