updated 12/23/2007 1:46:56 PM ET 2007-12-23T18:46:56

A suicide bombing attack on a military convoy killed five civilians and four soldiers Sunday in troubled northwestern Pakistan, the army and police said.

The attack also wounded 13 more civilians and 10 other soldiers in the town of Mangora in Swat district, where security forces have carried out several operations against followers of a pro-Taliban radical Islamic cleric, an army statement said.

The "suicide bomber who was riding a vehicle blew himself up ... in Mingora," killing five civilians and four soldiers, the statement said.

The dead and injured have been taken to a hospital, said local police official Mohammed Khan.

Pakistan is a key U.S. ally in the war on terror. Swat has been the scene of several such attacks since July, when Pakistan's government sent troops there to contain the activities of Maulana Fazalullah, a local cleric who had waged a violent campaign to pressure the government for the enforcement of Taliban-style Islamic laws in his area.

Although the government says it has killed or captured most of Fazalullah's supporters, the cleric has remained on the run.

Hours before Sunday's attack, security forces captured four of Fazalullah's associates from Swat, another army statement said. It said that troops were still clearing militants from some other areas of militants, and that area residents were backing the troops in efforts aimed at restoring peace in Swat — once one of Pakistan's most popular tourists destinations.

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