Hand grenade kills 6 children in Pakistan

HUSSAIN AFZAL Associated Press Published:

PARACHINAR, Pakistan (AP) -- A hand grenade killed six children Sunday who found it while playing in a field in northwestern Pakistan, police said.

The dead girl and five boys belong to two families displaced from a nearby tribal region, Orakzai, said Mian Iftikhar, the police chief of Hangu where the incident took place.

The region lies near restive areas on the Afghan border that are home to Pakistani and al-Qaida-linked foreign Islamic militants. The military has carried out offensives recently in the tribal areas.

The violence has displaced many civilians, who sought shelter in refugee camps or with relatives. Last week, thousands fled one tribal area, North Waziristan, after the Pakistani air force carried out airstrikes there. The strikes were a reaction to the latest wave of suicide attacks and bombings by the Pakistani Taliban and their affiliates across the country, which have killed more than 100 people this month.

Their targets include two attacks against the Pakistani army, killing 34 soldiers.

Pakistani Taliban also have been attacking politicians, police, civilians, government officials and minority Shiite Muslims, who Sunni militant groups see as heretics.

The Islamic militants want to overthrow the Pakistani government to enforce their own harsh brand of Islamic Shariah law. Civilians in the Pakistan's lawless tribal regions have been a direct victim of the fighting.

Earlier this month, a 17-year-old schoolboy died in Hangu when he stopped a suicide bomber targeting his school.

Pakistanis are pressuring the civilian government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to tackle the issue of militancy aggressively. Sharif long has supported a policy of negotiating with militants.

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Associated Press writer Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Pakistan, contributed to this report.