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Phone exchange, school blown up in Darra

By Abdul Sami Paracha

KOHAT: Militants belonging to Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have blown up a telephone exchange and girls` primary school and attacked a security checkpost in Darra Adam Khel tribal area of Kohat district, officials told this correspondent on phone on Thursday.

They said that the militants destroyed a girls` primary school in Bazid Khel area of Qasim Khel on Wednesday by planting time bombs at its boundary wall.

The two-room school building was rendered useless after the attacks, eyewitnesses said.The officials said that militants also blew up the only telephone exchange in Darra Adam Khel town, which suspended all the PTCL landline phone connections. Mr Ijaz, in-charge of the telephone exchange, said that all electrical gadgets of the exchange had been destroyed in the attack. He said that a team of technical experts had arrived from Islamabad to replace the faulty system.

A Darra resident, requesting anonymity, said that all telephone sets were dead following the attack. He said that the technical staff was asked on Thursday afternoon by law-enforcement agencies to suspend work due to fear of militant attacks.

The officials said that militants attacked Sra Mela army checkpost in Bazid Khel with mortars and gun fire, which was retaliated by the security forces. They said that there were no reports of any casualty and the militants escaped after the attack. Officials of the bomb disposal squad of army were tightlipped about the quantity and number of explosives used in the three attacks. However, they claimed that terrorists were making last ditch efforts to make their presence felt.

They said that the militants made a failed attempt at the Friendship Tunnel in Kohat last month and also harassed tribal elders. They said that the tunnel remained safe and it was opened within 24 hours of the blast.

An official said that the situation in Darra Adam Khel was under control and a small group of TTP remnants and some local criminal gangs were involved in terrorist acts.

He said that before the 2008 operation, Darra Adam Khel was infested with proclaimed offenders and kidnappers. He said that these criminal gangs had also joined the TTP to resume their illegal activities.

Source: Dawn

Date:2/18/2011

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