13 Killed in Pakistan suicide attack

Islamabad, Jan 20 (EFE).- At least 13 people - seven of them soldiers - died and at least 10 were wounded in a suicide bombing Monday at a downtown market in the city of Rawalpindi, Pakistani police told Efe.

The attack occurred shortly before 8:00 a.m., when the suicide bomber detonated the explosive charge he was carrying on his back, according to a source in the Rawalpindi police.

At least one of the dead and several of the injured were students on their way to school, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The spokesman of the leading Taliban group in Pakistan, the TTP, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement to the media that said it was done in retaliation for military operations in the country's tribal zone, where the main insurgent strongholds are located.

Shahidullah Shahid also linked Monday's bombing to the death of TTP No. 3 Wali ur-Rehman in a U.S. drone strike last May.

Monday's attack took place at the Royal Artillery Bazaar, the biggest market in Rawalpindi and close to several sensitive installations such as army headquarters and various military hospitals, including the one where ex-dictator Pervez Mushaffaf is being treated.

It also came the day after a bomb explosion decimated a passing military convoy in the northwestern area of Bannu that killed 20 members of the armed forces.

Deaths from terrorism in the South Asian country increased last year by 19 percent to 2,451, reversing the decline that began in 2010, according to a recent report by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies.