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Pakistan: Suicide attacks kill 24

  • Story Highlights
  • 24 dead, dozens wounded in two suicide attacks in Pakistan
  • One hit a security checkpoint, one targeted local leaders
  • Pakistan has launched anti-militant offensive in northwest tribal region
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Suicide bombers struck two targets in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, including a gathering of tribal leaders, leaving at least 24 dead, according to local officials and state-run media.

The latest attack happened Thursday night when a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a police checkpoint in the Swat region of North West Frontier Province, killing two soldiers and wounding five, two Pakistani military sources said.

Hours earlier, a suicide bomber detonated at a meeting of tribal leaders in the same province, killing 22 and wounding more than 100, the head of Bajaur Agency, Shafeerrullah Khan, told CNN.

The gathering was being held outside in North West Frontier Province's Bajaur Agency, Khan and other local officials told CNN.

Pakistan's military recently launched a massive offensive against Taliban fighters in the area.

The head of the Salarzai tribe -- Haji Fazl Karim, who convened Thursday's meeting, or "jirga" -- sustained critical injuries in the bombing, according to a Pakistani intelligence source.

Tribal leaders at the jirga were discussing how to deal with the rise of militants in the region, including demands that the government stop its military offensive in Bajaur and that militants leave the area, the sources said.

As a last resort, the elders were also considering forming a "lashkar" or militia, to fight the militants themselves, the sources said.

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The suicide attack on the police checkpoint happened at 8:45 p.m. (1545 GMT), and sparked a firefight between the Pakistani security forces and militants that continued for several hours, the sources said.

The Swat region has been the scene of heavy fighting since the Pakistani military launched an offensive against Taliban militants in early August.

From CNN's Reza Sayah and Zein Basravi in Islamabad

All About PakistanAfghanistanAfghanistan WarAl QaedaThe Taliban

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