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Bomb blast rips northwest Pakistan mosque

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A bomb blast ripped through a mosque in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province Tuesday killing one person and injuring more than 20, police said.

The explosion, in the Jogian area of the NWFP's Dera Ismail Khan district, occurred as a large crowd was inside the mosque offering early evening prayer, security officials told KUNA, the Kuwait News Agency. Several of the wounded were reported in critical condition.

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NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar condemned the attack and blamed local Taliban militants for the bombing, KUNA said.

Suspected Taliban militants also blew up a bridge Tuesday in the Khyber region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, disrupting NATO supply lines.

No deaths were reported in that blast, which knocked out the span connecting Landi Kotal and Jamrod in the Khyber tribal area, CNN said. Engineers and other officials were at the site working to open a temporary route and assessing damage. Local officials said most of the bridge was destroyed.

Authorities were mapping out alternate supply routes for NATO supply trucks and traffic going from Pakistan to Afghanistan because the damaged route is the main link between the two countries.

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Nearly three dozen suspected militants were killed Monday as part of a continuing military operation in Pakistan's Swat Valley, Pakistani military officials said.

The 35 deaths occurred when government security forces used artillery and attack helicopters to battle between 70 and 80 suspected militants after tracking their movements in the Khwaza Khela district, CNN reported Tuesday.

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