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Bomber kills Pakistani minister

A suicide bomber has shot his way into the residence of a Pakistani provincial government minister killing him and seven others.

The blast near the town of Dera Ismail Khan also wounded more than 30 people. The minister of law for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Israullah Gandapur, was at his house to celebrate the Muslim Eid holiday when the bomber struck.

The attacker first shot dead the guard at the house before blowing himself up inside the guest room of the minister's residence.

Hameedullah Khan, an aide to the slain minister, said there were about 50 people in the room at the time of the explosion.

"Some were enjoying tea and sweets, others were meeting and greeting," he said. "I was meeting with the minister's brother Ikramullah when suddenly there was a big bang followed by smoke, (the) explosive's smell and noise of crying people."

He said the blast knocked him senseless until he saw the minister lying in a pool of blood with others.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion will fall on the Pakistani Taliban and their allies. The Taliban repeatedly have targeted government officials and security personnel, as well as civilians.

Mr Gandapur was elected to the provincial assembly in May as an independent. He later joined the ruling provincial party led by former cricket star Imran Khan and became law minister. He oversaw the office tasked with drafting provincial laws.

He had been a strong supporter of peace talks with the Taliban, but several officials from his party have been killed in attacks since the May election.

-AP

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