At least nine members of a local Pakistan army soccer team were killed and four wounded in a suicide attack in the country's restive northwest yesterday, the military said.
The attack took place in a high security area of the garrison city of Kohat in North West Frontier Province, which borders Afghanistan, military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad said on Pakistani state television.
The players were on a public road in the area when they were blown up, he said.
"They were coming back from a match," said Arshad, adding that the area had been cordoned off.
It was the third suicide attack apparently aimed at the military since Friday, and came two days after President Pervez Musharraf lifted a state of emergency, saying a wave of militant violence had been stopped.
"The wave of terrorism and militancy has been stopped under the emergency and there has been considerable improvement in the overall situation," Musharraf said in a televised address he gave to the nation on Saturday.
Musharraf, a key ally in the US-led "war on terror," has been facing a surge in Islamist violence.
Around 700 people have been killed in militant attacks this year and more than half that number since July, when the army killed around 100 people in a raid on a radical, pro-Taliban mosque in Islamabad.
Earlier yesterday, the military announced that 17 pro-Taliban rebels had been taken into custody in the northwestern valley of Swat, another flashpoint in the battles against rebels.
Government reports said that around 330 militants have been killed in the area during the recent campaign to clear the valley of fighters.
The latest men captured were all said to be followers of Fazlullah, a local pro-Taliban cleric known as "Mullah Radio" for broadcasting fiery speeches over his private FM radio station.
He has called for a holy war against the Pakistan government.
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