Video shop bombing kills 3 in Pakistan


PESHAWAR: June 4, 2008. (AP) - A bomb explosion ripped through a video shop in a business center of northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding three, police said.

The blast came as investigators probed who was behind a car bomb that exploded just outside the Danish embassy earlier this week. It could add to concern that Pakistan's efforts to strike peace deals with militants are failing to end violence. Local police chief Abdul Rauf said the latest attack happened in the town of Kohat, about 45 miles south of Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan. He said the dead and injured were taken to a hospital. The blast also damaged other video and CD stores nearby. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but previous bombings in this volatile region have been blamed on pro-Taliban militants who consider music and movies un-Islamic. Just weeks ago, suspected militants sent letters to shop owners in Kohat and elsewhere in the region, warning them to close their businesses. The U.S. has expressed concerns that the two-month-old Pakistani government's efforts to negotiate with some armed groups in the northwest could give hard-liners time to regroup and intensify attacks on U.S. forces across the border in Afghanistan. The government has insisted it will not negotiate with "terrorists" but only Pakistani militants willing to lay down their arms. Danish investigators have said al-Qaida or an affiliated group was likely behind Monday's blast outside their embassy in the usually tranquil capital. The terror network has threatened Denmark over the reprinting in Danish papers of a cartoon that depicted Islam's Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban. Investigators believe it was a suicide bombing. Many suicide bombings in Pakistan are believed to have been planned in its semiautonomous tribal regions along the Afghan border, where al-Qaida and Taliban militants have found sanctuary and which are the focus of peace efforts. Pakistan's umbrella Taliban movement, headed by Baitullah Mehsud of the South Waziristan tribal region, has declared a cease-fire amid the negotiations. Violence in Pakistan is down markedly, even though bombings and attacks in the northwest and other parts of the country have continued. NATO, meanwhile, has reported a surge in attacks on its troops in eastern Afghanistan, saying it suspects the rise is a result of the peace talks across the border.

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