Aug 27, 12:14 PM EDT

Pakistan suicide bomber kills wife, kids during police raid



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MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) -- A suspected Taliban militant blew himself up during a police raid in central Pakistan on Thursday, killing his own wife and two children, police said.

The counterterrorism raid on the house in the town of Pir Mahal triggered a shootout after someone inside began lobbing hand grenades, police official Khalid Rashid said.

He said the raid was part of the investigation into the assassination of Punjab provincial home minister Shuja Khanzada, who was killed along with 17 others in an attack by two suicide bombers in his northwestern hometown earlier this month.

Habibur Rehman, the militant who died Thursday, was a Pakistani Taliban member, Rashid said. He said the militant initially used his wife as a human shield, but then set off the explosives when he was surrounded.

He said police seized four suicide vests, assault rifles, hand grenades and a large quantity of explosives at the house.

The Pakistani Taliban are an umbrella group of several local militant outfits fighting to overthrow the government and impose their harsh brand of Islamic law. They have killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis over the last decade.

The army has led several offensives against Islamic militants, including one launched in June 2014 in North Waziristan, a tribal region along the Afghan border that has long been a haven for al-Qaida and other militant groups.

Pakistani army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif visited the troops there on Thursday. "We won't allow anyone to kill our people and children," he told the soldiers.

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Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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