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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Attack on Pakistan intelligence agents, four hurt

QUETTA, Pakistan, June 15 (Reuters) - A blast at a Pakistani security compound in restive Baluchistan province wounded four men on Thursday in what police said appeared to be the latest attack by rebels seeking greater control of gas resources.

Police in the southwestern province said the residential quarters for officers of Pakistan's main security agency, the Inter Services Intelligence, was attacked in Qalat, 160 km (100 miles) south of the provincial capital, Quetta.

"It seems somebody threw a hand grenade from outside," said a police official who declined to be identified.

Three paramilitary troops on guard at the compound and one intelligence agency official were wounded, he said, adding that Baluch rebels were suspected to be be behind the attack.

Baluchistan is Pakistan's largest but poorest province and its biggest source of natural gas.

Baluch nationalists say the people of the province of jagged mountains and deserts on the Afghan border get little benefit from its resources.

Baluch rebels have waged a low-key insurgency for decades for greater autonomy and control of resources but their campaign has intensified over the past year with a series of attacks on gas facilities, other infrastructure and security forces.

In separate incidents on Thursday, gunmen attacked a paramilitary vehicle, killing one man, and a railway line in another area was blown up by a bomb, police said.

The government has vowed to crush the rebels, but at the same time, has said it is ready for talks.
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