Bomb in toy kills father, 2 children in Pakistan

Bomb in toy kills father, 2 children in Pakistan
Pakistani students attend class at a re-opened school that had been destroyed by militants in Lower Dir district, some 100 kilometres from the once Taliban-infested Swat Valley, on March 7, 2015. Taliban and other militants opposed to girls' education and secular schooling have bombed or torched hundreds of schools in northwest Pakistan.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A father and two of his children were killed in northwest Pakistan Tuesday after a bomb concealed inside a toy went off inside their home.

The incident happened in the village of Bishigram in the Swat Valley.

Salim Khan Marwat, the area's police chief, said the 35-year-old man's three children and their cousin had found the toy in the streets and brought it home to play with.

Once home, the toy exploded. "The father, his nine-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son died on the spot while two other children were wounded," Marwat said, adding those injured were the man's other son and his nephew.

Afzal Khan, a police official in Bishigram village, confirmed the incident.

The origin of the bomb was unclear.

Dozens of children, mostly in insurgency-hit northwest Pakistan, have lost their lives in the past when playing with "toys" that turned out to be bombs.

"Toy" bombs were airdropped in neighbouring Afghanistan by Soviet forces during the 1980s as weapons against those who opposed their invasion.

The Swat Valley was under the de facto control of Pakistani Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah from 2007 to 2009, where it imposed a harsh brand of Sharia law and carried out public floggings and hangings.

The militants were driven out by an army operation after a ceasefire broke down but remain a threat in the region.

Taliban insurgents shot girls' education campaigner Malala Yousafzai in the head in the valley in 2012.

Fazlullah, who says he ordered the shooting, was appointed chief of the Pakistani Taliban in 2013.

Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency for more than a decade after it agreed to cooperate with US-led NATO forces in their war in neighbouring Afghanistan.

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