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Grenade blast kills couple, four of their kids in Pakistan

FOUR children and their parents were killed in a hand-grenade blast in Pakistan's northwest yesterday, a day after 12 children were killed by a bomb hidden in a football.

The grenade exploded in a car carrying a couple and their eight children near Asar Madakhel village, about 45 kilometers west of Miranshah, the capital of the North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border.

"The parents and four of their children died instantly," said Mirbad Khan, a hospital official in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan.

"Four other children were wounded," he said.

Authorities were unsure whether the parents were carrying the grenade or if it was planted in the car.

On Saturday 12 children were killed when a bomb hidden in a football they were playing with exploded at a village in the mountainous region of Lower Dir, 260 kilometers northeast of Miranshah.

The children, five of them girls, found the ball as they were returning home from school.

Seven victims belonged to the same family.

Rehman Malik, interior ministry chief of Pakistan, also appealed to parents across North West Frontier Province to stop children accepting food or toys from strangers.

Dir is part of the Malakand division of NWFP, where Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari this month sanctioned the imposition of Islamic law under a controversial deal aimed at ending conflict with militants in Swat valley.

But just days after Zardari's move, fighters ventured into neighboring areas closer to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

Western governments have criticized Pakistan for cutting deals, saying the strategy will encourage militants.

Pakistani officials say they are trying to use political means to reduce the violence in the country.


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