BANNU  - A suicide bomber on Tuesday rammed his explosive-laden car into a checkpoint outside a police station in Bannu, wounding eight people, police said.

The attack took place at a police station outside Bannu bordering the lawless tribal regions where Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants are known to operate. Police said the incident took place when a bomber driving an explosive-laden vehicle ripped through the Hovaid Police Station leaving eight people, including four cops, injured.

The explosion damaged the police station while the windows of nearby buildings were also smashed. The injured were shifted to DHQ hospital and police cordoned off the area following the incident. “Four policemen and four civilians were wounded after a suicide bomber blew up his car at the checkpoint,” said senior police official Nisar Ahmad Tanoli.

The blast damaged the outer wall of the police station and two houses near the checkpoint, he said. Taliban militants immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. “We carried out the suicide attack on the police station... we will not spare them and target them again,” Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told a foreign news agency on phone from an unknown location.

“We will continue to target police and security forces because they are killing our mujahedin (fighters),” he added.

Suicide and bomb attacks blamed on insurgents have killed more than 5,200 people across the country since July 2007. The spokesman claimed that TTP was not involved in last week’s attack on pro-government and anti-US Taliban leader Mullah Nazir.

Ehsan condemned the attack on Nazir and said he was part of the Ittehad-i-Shura-Mujah-ideen, of which the TTP was also a member. The TTP spokesman further said that though the TTP may have organisational differences with Mullah Nazir, there were no ideological differences between the groups.

The problem created in South Waziristan is a tribal feud between the Ahmedzai Wazir and Mehsud clans which would be settled as per tribal customs, said the spokesman for the banned outfit.

Ehsan also claimed the TTP was not behind Tuesday’s blast that reportedly took place near the house of Kainat, one of the girls who was injured during the attack on Malala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old campaigner for girls’ education. The attack was suspected to be a terrorist act according to certain reports in the media whereas Swat DPO Gul Afzal Khan Afridi had stated that the blast appeared to have been caused due to a gas leakage as initial investigative reports suggested that debris from the explosion flew outwards.