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Pakistan suicide bomb in Peshawar kills at least 19

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Mohammad Sajjad/AP

(Read caption) Volunteers gather outside a courthouse after a suicide bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009. The suicide bomber killed at least 16 people Thursday, the latest attack in an onslaught by Islamist militants fighting back against an army offensive in the nearby Afghan border region.

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A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

A bombing at a courthouse has left at least 19 people dead and dozens injured after a suicide attack in Peshawar, Pakistan. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, government officials are blaming the Pakistani Taliban.

This latest attack comes as the Pakistani military continues its major offensive against Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in the South Waziristan, a stronghold for the groups. Peshawar has been the scene of many attacks in recent months, which may be designed to raise questions among the civilian population about the effectiveness of their government's military campaign.

Despite the high death toll of the courthouse bombing, officials say it could have been much worse had Pakistani police not intercepted the bomber before he entered the courthouse. Witnesses say that police stopped the bomber at a checkpoint just outside the crowded building and the bomber detonated his explosives when police began to search him, reports the Times of London. Khaista Gull, the police officer who stopped the bomber from entering the courthouse, was killed in the blast and is being hailed as a hero by government officials who say Gull averted a "major catastrophe."

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