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Oct 18, 7:27 AM EDT

Car bomb kills 5 police, 2 civilians in southwest Pakistan


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QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) -- A car bomb attack struck a Pakistani police truck in the southwestern city of Quetta on Wednesday, killing at least five policemen and two civilians. In a separate attack in Quetta, a police officer was gunned down by assailants riding on a motorcycle, authorities said.

Also Wednesday, a roadside bombing near a tribal area along the border with Afghanistan killed two troops.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the car bombing, which took place in the Saryab Road area of Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan.

Abdur Razzaq Cheema, the police chief in Quetta, said 24 people were also wounded, several critically.

An investigation is underway to determine whether it was a suicide bombing or whether the explosives-laden vehicle was detonated remotely when the police truck was passing by, he said, adding that the death toll could increase.

The Pakistani Taliban said the attack was a "suicide mission."

Sarfaraz Bugti, the home minister for Baluchistan, visited the site of the explosion. Afterward, he said such attacks would not bring down the morale of the security forces.

"We are at war and our security forces are being targeted as they are crushing the enemies," Bugti said. "We will continue the war against these terrorists and we will defeat them."

In the drive-by shooting, two men on a motorcycle shot and killed police inspector Abdus Salam as he was on his way to work. Cheema, the police chief, said the gunmen fired multiple shots on him before fleeing.

A banned Pakistani militant group, Lashker-e-Jhangvi, said it was behind the slaying of the police officer.

Baluchistan has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baluch separatist groups demanding a greater share of the province's resources but Islamic militant groups also operate in the region.

The roadside bombing that killed two members of Pakistani paramilitary forces struck near a security post close to the North Waziristan tribal region, two intelligence officials told The Associated Press.

The troops were returning from the town of Mir Ali when the bomb went off near their vehicle, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. A manhunt was underway to find the perpetrators, they added.

A local commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Sharyar Mahsud, said his men were responsible for the attack.

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Associated Press writer Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

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