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Taliban hit Pakistani court with 'revenge' blast

A suicide bomber has killed several civilians and security forces members near a Pakistani court, officials say. The attack was "revenge" for a recent execution of an Islamist extremist, according to a Taliban offshoot.

At least 11 people were killed and 30 more wounded in a suicide attack in Shabqadar, northwest Pakistan, the police said on Monday.

The attacker opened fire at police guarding the court building during morning rush hour. He was wearing eight kilos (17.5 pounds) of explosives, according to officials.

Pakistan Rawalpindi Beerdigung Trauermarsch Mumtaz Qadri

Thousands of people mourned at Qadri's funeral

"The suicide bomber was trying to enter the judicial complex and he blew himself up when the police stopped him," said police official Saeed Wazir.

At least four women and two children were killed in the blast.

Islamists threaten new attacks on courts

A Taliban splinter group, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was acting in retaliation over the

widely publicized hanging

of Mumtaz Qadri last week. Pakistani authorities executed Qadri for the killing of a provincial governor in 2011, after the governor urged reform of strict blasphemy laws.

While liberal observers described Qadri's death sentence as a pivotal moment in the government's fight against Islamist extremists, religious hardliners in Pakistani society view him as a hero.

Some 100,000 people took to the streets to praise Qadri during his funeral.

On Monday, Jamat-ul-Ahrar faction threatened new attacks against Pakistan's justice system.

"The Pakistani courts give decisions against the laws revealed by Allah, and convict and hang innocent people," spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in an emailed statement. "This attack is revenge for the hanging of Qadri."

The town of Shabqadar is located at the edge of the Mohmand tribal region which borders Afghanistan. In recent years, Islamabad conducted a series of military operations in the border regions to suppress Taliban factions in the area, although they still carry out occasional attacks from their Afghan bases.

dj/msh (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)

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